Council votes to ban pets as prizes
Barnet Council has banned the use of live animals as prizes for all events held on council-owned land. Councillors unanimously agreed to back the ban, raising concerns over animal welfare.
The decision also supports the RSPCA's 'Pets as Prizes' campaign, which urges local authorities to ban outright the giving of live animals as prizes on their land.
Barnet is the third London borough alongside Redbridge and Enfield to join the campaign. There are now 32 local authorities in England and 12 in Wales who have banned this practice from taking place on their land.
Cllr Simon Radford (East Barnet ward) said: “I was moved to suggest this as Barnet Council policy for three main reasons: the campaign from residents expressing their feelings on the matter, my personal belief that animal welfare is too often trivialised, and the encouragement of our new council administration.
“I am so pleased that we’ve got the result we wanted. Barnet Council cares for its people, places, our planet, and pets, and we hope our move will inspire even more councils to do the same.”
Lee Gingell, RSPCA’s Public Affairs Manager for Local Government in England, said: “We are delighted to see Barnet Council take this important step for animal welfare in their community.
“We’d like to thank Councillor Simon Radford for steering this through and hope other London borough councils will soon follow and take similar action.
“Sadly - despite many believing it is a thing of the past - we too often hear of instances of pets - often goldfish being given out as prizes. But animal ownership is a big responsibility - and while goldfish can make great companions, they shouldn't be acquired via a spur-of-the-moment game.
“When bringing a fish home for the first time, it’s important to set the tank up at least two weeks in advance to make sure it’s all running smoothly, and this just isn’t possible for someone who’s won a fish without being prepared for it.”
The ‘Pets as Prizes’ campaign is largely aimed at the giving away of goldfish at funfairs where the use of unsuitable plastic bags means that the fish are likely to suffer from shock and oxygen deprivation, or even death due to changes in water temperature.
Unlike animals sold by a pet shop, animals that are given as prizes are currently not protected by animal welfare legislation, which means that welfare standards do not apply to them.