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Ban ‘pets as prizes’ says councillor

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Huntingdonshire councillor Simon Bywater wants the district council to back an RSPCA campaign to outlaw pets as prizes.

He has tabled a motion to this week’s full council meeting setting out his objections.

And he wants the council’s support.

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His motion calls for the council to share his concern about the number of cases reported to the RSPCA each year, regarding pets given as prizes via fairgrounds, social media and other channels in England and notes the issue predominantly concerns goldfish

Cllr Bywater, shadow Cabinet members for community and health, says he is “concerned for the welfare of those animals that are being given as prizes”.

And he wants the council to recognise “that many cases of pets being given as prizes may go unreported each year”.

His motion “suggests a move suggests a move to ban the giving of live animals as prizes, in any form, on Huntingdonshire District Council land”.

Cllr Bywater is hoping his councillor colleagues will agree:

1.  That an outright ban of the giving of live animals as prizes, in any form, on Huntingdonshire District Council owned land is implemented.

2.  That the council writes to the UK Government requesting an outright ban of live animals as prizes on both public and private land

3.  That the council carries out a review of the current policies and the terms of the licences and hire of council owned land and premise to ensure that they reflect the council’s position as regards giving of live animals (e.g. Goldfish, etc) as prizes

4.  That the council will seek to work with our town and parish councils and other partners to raise awareness and encourage them to adopt a similar policy on their land.

The RSPCA is running a ‘pets as prizes” campaign and says a pet should not be something to be won.

“Fairs can evoke a sense of nostalgia for many, with fairground jingles, sugared doughnuts and arcade game prizes,” says the RSPCA.

“Sadly, there’s no fun at the fair for the animals given away as prizes.

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“While many of us would not accept a dog, cat or rabbit as the result of winning a game – receiving goldfish as prizes have become all too commonplace across England and Wales.

“Can you help us make pets as prizes a thing of the past?”

The RSCPA adds: “Unfortunately, we regularly receive calls relating to animals being given away as prizes, particularly goldfish – who are often prized off at fairgrounds across England and Wales.

“These goldfish are often held in unsuitable plastic bags for long durations and taken to homes that aren’t adequately prepared to meet their welfare needs.

“We think you’ll agree that while candy floss comes in bags, pets shouldn’t.”

The RSPCA says: “Goldfish are easily stressed and very often, fish that are won as prizes suffer miserably from shock, oxygen starvation or die from changes in water temperature, and many will die before their new owners can even get them home.

“It’s already illegal in Scotland

“Currently in England and Wales, it’s an offence to give animals away as a prize to anyone under the age of 16, unless accompanied by an adult.

“This differs from laws in other countries, for example Scotland, where it’s an offence in almost all circumstances to give an animal away as a prize to anyone regardless of age.

“Prevent pets as prizes”.

The RSPCA says it needs supporters to take the action and let your local council know that pets as prizes are a no-win situation.

“By taking action, you’ll be encouraging your local council to stop this practice on council-owned land, as well as write to their respective Government for wider change,” says the RSPCA.

“When it comes to pets as prizes, you win, they lose.”Pets As Prizes | Campaign | RSPCA

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