Animal lovers are demanding Kingston Council bans goldfish being given as prizes at fairs.

Christine Orton, 51, was left upset after seeing the pets being given away at Hook Fair last Saturday, July 18, believing the tradition was now illegal.

Under the Animal Welfare Act (2005) it is illegal to give a prize fish to an unaccompanied child under 16, but some councils have banned it altogether on their land after pressure from animal rights activists.

Mrs Orton said she was disgusted Kingston Council had not followed suit and mocked up a picture of Kingston’s three fish logo with three dead fish in protest.

She said: "Considering three fish have been Kingston’s logo for hundreds of years, it’s absolutely horrendous that Kingston Council can’t do something for other fish.

"Fish are living beings. A lot of people forget that they have feelings like a furry cat or a hairy dog.

"The fairs keep them in unacceptable condition, they ferry them around with only a little bit of air. The stall holders can’t see where the fish is going or what is happening to it.

"They need to make you aware that you’re going to have a duty of care and that you have the right home for it and tell you what to do if it gets sick."

Mrs Orton and partner Kieran Kirk, of York Way, Chessington, confronted organisers Surbiton Rotary Club at the fair on King Edward recreation ground and called the RSPCA for guidance on the law.

She added: "It did cast a bit of a black cloud over the day because you couldn’t help thinking how many of these fish were going to make it to the next day."

Rotary Club President Malcolm Finn said the law was not broken at Saturday’s fair but the moral issues over whether to allow live animals again will be decided before next year’s fair.

He said he was not aware the stall holder had goldfish as prizes until he arrived on the day.

A Kingston Council spokesman said: "While the council can stipulate how its own land and property may be used by hirers, as a Licensing Authority the council cannot attach a condition prohibiting the giving of animals as prizes on any premises that it licenses."

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