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Cabinet members to make decision on live animals being given as prizes

Goldfish in a bag. The RSPCA are campaigning to ban giving away pets as prizes (Pic: RSPCA)

SENIOR Ceredigion councillors are expected to back a call for a ban on live animals being given as prizes at events on council land.

An RSPCA campaign on ‘giving pets as prizes’ by proposing to implement a ban on giving live animals on council land has been supported by 14 of the 22 Welsh authorities to date, including neighbouring Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire.

Members of the council’s Healthier Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee, meeting on November 22, were recommended to back the RSPCA call in the county, referring it to Cabinet for a final decision.

A report for members stated: “Within Ceredigion County Council, the protection and endorsement of high standards of animal welfare is upmost as part of supporting the farming industry, and to support those who enjoy keeping animals as pets.

“The authority therefore supports the RSPCA campaign on ‘giving pets as prizes’ by proposing to implement a ban on giving live animals on Ceredigion County Council property.”

It added: “While a range of animals are given as prizes each year in Wales and the rest of the UK, goldfish are the animal most commonly associated with pets as prizes.

“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 get them home.

“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 and carefully consider whether they have, and will continue to have, the facilities, time, financial means and level of interest necessary to ensure a satisfactory standard of care for their animal prior to acquiring it.”

The Animal Welfare Act 2006 does not forbid giving live animals as prizes unless they are given to unaccompanied children, with different, stronger, legislation in Scotland.

“The RSPCA believes that this legislation does not go far enough and does not cover the animal welfare issues associated with this practice and therefore, they would like to see similar legislation to the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 introduced in England and Wales; to make it an offence to give an animal as a prize, regardless of age, except within the family context,” the report said.

“Ceredigion County Council has an opportunity to ban ‘pets as prizes’ on council property, thereby serving to raise public awareness of animal welfare surrounding the giving of live animals as prizes. Therefore, in view of the current legislation, the council can introduce a ban through changing its terms and conditions of the agreements to use council property.”

Members were told that it was understood no event on council land offered pets as prizes, and goldfish were not given as prizes by the operator of autumn fairs held in Cardigan, Aberaeron and Aberystwyth.

Committee members referred the ban call to Cabinet, with a recommendation it is supported, the matter expected to be heard at its December 5 meeting.