August 29, 2019

The RSPCA is firmly opposed to the giving of live animals as prizes. Animal ownership is a big responsibility that needs to be planned and well-thought out – not a spur of the moment event resulting from a game.

Between 2014 and 2018, there were  24 cases reported to the RSPCA of live animals being given as prizes in Wales- 60% were goldfish being given at fairgrounds.

It is the view of the RSPCA that acquiring an animal to be kept as a pet should be the result of careful planning and prior consideration. The prospective owner should have a clear understanding of the responsibilities involved.

Under Section 11 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006, it is an offence to give an animal as a prize to anyone under the age of 16, unless they are accompanied by someone over that age or it is within the family context. RSPCA Cymru believes that this piece of legislation could go further to help ensure the welfare of animals currently issued as prizes – for example, in Scotland, where under Section 31 of the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 states that is an offence for an animal to be given as a prize regardless of age, except where given within the family context. 

All animals, regardless of shape and size, can suffer, and the environments that fairground goldfish and other animals given as prizes find themselves in are unlikely to be sufficient to provide for their welfare needs which could lead to suffering and even death. While RSPCA Cymru supports an outright ban on the giving of pets as prizes, we also urge local authorities to implement local bans – and, presently, this step has been taken by Newport City Council.