Save The Goldfish

I’m causing trouble again. My son’s school is having its annual fete/fair on Saturday and I have found out that they are giving away live goldfish as prizes. As a long time aquarist and fish lover, this really gets on my goat.

Goldfish are more sensitive and intelligent than people give them credit for and it is terrifying for them first of all to be transported en masse to the school in tubs and then given out individually in plastic bags so children can jiggle them around for hours. Many of them will die very quickly from exhaustion and stress.

In addition, many people are not properly set up at home to win a goldfish. You need a tank with a proper filtration system, water treatments, gravel, plants, food. It is imperative that fish not be placed in water that hasn’t been properly treated. It usually results in a very speedy and painful death.

For those of you who have seen Finding Nemo where the dentist’s daughter shakes the fish she is given for her birthday to death, you will know what I mean.

My son’s school carried out this cruel act last year. Most of the goldfish were dead by the following day. That a school which presumably feels it is contributing to the moral and ethical development of its students would condone sentencing hundreds of goldfish to death needlessly, is shameful.

I had a very heated argument with the stallholder last year and the fact that she has decided to do it again despite my protestation and the protestations of others really irks me. Obviously, some bright spark somewhere has decided that it is so cute to win a goldfish, isn’t it?

So I have gone to see the school Principal and have told her that if the whole thing goes ahead I will be staging a protest on Saturday. I have a couple of activist mates who enjoy kicking up a fuss at a moment’s notice and are not adverse to a bit of name calling and ranting. And yes, they are members of PETA.  Mel is also going to write a piece for her paper with the headline Primary School Condones Animal Cruelty. It is a shame that sometimes just to get your message across, you have to make a lot of noise and in fact, be a bit unpleasant. I guess that standing up for what you believe in is often not pretty. Should be a fun day at the fair.

19 thoughts on “Save The Goldfish

  1. Do you think they’ll pull the goldfish? i cant believe that they’re going ahead with it. We’ll be going to the fete anyway, so if that stall is still there i’ll make sure my opinion is heard. i thought it was illegal to give away live animals??


  2. I must admit I didn’t know all that about goldfish but ignorance is no excuse. Obviously you have made the school aware of the probable repercussions to the fish so it is very irresponsible of them to go ahead with it. Surely there are a million things that could be given out as prizes that would not be harmful to anyone or anything. Go get em girl.


  3. Now I understand the pic in your last post… you and Sis had just heard about this fete… no actually, all jokes aside, I’m with you on this, Selma.

    I don’t pretend to be an animal lover but I would never condone cruelty to even a goldfish… perhaps they’ll see the error of their ways and change their mind before the fete opens… and give away kittens instead. (Okay… so it wasn’t ALL jokes aside.)


  4. Well, you could always get PETA involved if you really wanted them to stop, you know. I thought goldfish in bags went the way of baby chicks at Easter years ago and didn’t realize people still did that!


  5. i would have thought PETA would have squelched this behavior long ago,,, kind of shocked to find out it is still acceptable to serve up goldfishes as prizes….

    i am not a fan of PETA,, nor am i in favor of the barbarian tactics associated with many animal rights activists groups,,, but as an animal lover,, a doggie mom and what i believe to be a relatively all around tender hearted person,, i do feel that they are erring on the side of bad judgment in still offering the fish as prizes…..

    but i do remember the day i won mine,, carried it thru the school like a golden trophy,, named him captain,, and flushed him sadly a few days hence….


  6. The way you stand up for a just cause such as this makes me proud to be your “half a world and several time zones apart” friend. I hope you get your point across to these people. They would’t dream of handing out kittens or puppies at something like this, would they?

    GO, SELMA!


  7. I would give anything to be there and see the events unfold! Think of all the kids that won’t have to go through waking up the next day to find a dead goldfish in their bowls. Those fish will have gone through a lot of traumatism! I worked one summer in the pet department and know that there is a lot of work that goes into taking care of fish. It isn’t as easy as it seems. There is a whole process of acclimatizing them into their tanks that a lot of people are unaware of. Keep us updated!


  8. I agree that it’s cruel for the fish involved, but another reason they shouldn’t be handing out goldfish as prizes is that the majority of the parents aren’t going to want them anyway. So even if the fish lives, there’s a good chance mom or dad will flush it anyway, thus leaving behind a sad little kid who just wanted to win a prize.


  9. You go for it Selma! Good for you! it is very cruel to the animal, and what about what it does to the kids? I mean, aside of needing to talk about death, what about the WORTH of all species? Essentially, taking home an “expendable fish in a bag” teaches them only that they are the entitled human rulers of all the world, and is not the message of biodiversity and environmental stewardship we want our kids to get.


  10. Hi Selma,
    All of life is far more intelligent than most (not all) of us ‘petty’ humans give credit for.
    Desensitizing our children to the death of defenceless creatures is just plain STUPID.
    One day’s ‘perceived’ happiness can lead to a lifetime of regret when innocent creatures die. I had a kitten that was run over when I was a child which I buried in my back yard, which I still mourn and that was 45 years ago.
    I also accidentally backed over (in my 4 wheel drive) my son’s puppy Mega (watching him haemorrhage to death almost destroyed me) and I had to bury him in the back yard too. 😦

    Such GRIEF, and they were accidents, not planned murder!

    Fight Selma, FIGHT!!!!!


  11. Selma, they auction off a golden lab each year at my son’s school fundraiser. It teaches the wrong lessons.

    Animal cruelty is hard to stomach and yes, I believe, this is animal cruelty because it’s teaching the kids that there is no value for those goldfish. And no one knows what kind of “homes” these fish will go off to — not to mention the whole shaking factor.

    Your are much braver than I; I may talk a good game, but you go girl!


  12. Go Selma And The Activists!!! (Sounds like a rock group 🙂 )

    Hopefully some of the parents will be educated by your protest and think twice about letting their children take part at that stall.

    Let us know how it turns out.


  13. Goldfish used to be a popular prize at fairgrounds when I was a kid, but not any more … I’m pretty sure that it’s been illegal here since the 70s.

    Of course, like everyone else, we kept them in a bowl … we didn’t know, until true enthusiasts began to make their voices heard, that they should be kept in a proper tank. Even the little booklet ‘So You Want to Keep Fish’ (or something), advised ‘a bowl or tank’ … their only hard and fast rule being ‘an inch of fish to a gallon of water’


  14. KATE – I did it. That dickhead from the P&C spoke to me like I was a kid but I don’t care. I DID IT!!!!!!!!!!!

    ROMANY – I think if you don’t know about the effects of such things on fish there is an excuse, but if you do know it seems unforgivable. All I know is I DID IT!!!!

    BEAR – that’s the problem, where does it end? A living creature is a living creature!

    AVITABLE – I was shocked about it too. How anyone could think it was a good idea is beyond me. The threat of PETA got me over the line, I think.

    PAISLEY – I don’t like the extremist behaviour either. I do believe you can get your message across by just talking (and talking) and writing letters, sending faxes, that kind of thing. That’s what I’ve been doing for the past three days. I’m exhausted!

    KAREN – that’s what I think. A goldfish is still an animal, right? Karen, you give me too much credit. I know you would have done the same thing.

    BRITT – I do like a bit of a protest as long as it’s peaceful and well-considered. I don’t know if I would ever go so far as to join PETA but I do admire some of the work they’ve done. It’s all about standing up for what you believe in!

    TBALL – you’re right, fishkeeping is much more complicated than people think. It’s upsetting for a child to wake up and their goldfish is dead. Even worse for the goldfish…..

    CRAFTY GREEN – it doesn’t make sense, does it? Some things just perplex me.

    LINDA – that is such a valid point. I remember when the fish were handed out last year the parents were all :’ Oh, no, are you kidding me?’ It just doesn’t make sense they would want to do it again.

    PWADJ – excellent points. I used those points in my final argument along with Linda’s comment. No one could argue with them.

    CHRIS – I am so sorry to hear about your kitten and your puppy. That would have been heartbreaking. I would never have recovered. Oh, I really am sorry.

    L’URAGANO – that just sounds awful about the Lab. I can be brave but oftentimes I regret it afterwards. The chief fundraiser rang me today and called me a f**king bitch for interfering. I can take it but I thought it was a bit unnecessary. Boy, if it gets this ugly at this level of animal activism what must it be like for the people trying to save the whales? Sheesh.

    DAOINE – hey, cool rock band! We did it, my dear. Power to the goldfish!

    TRAVELRAT – next time I will do an online petition. I think it is a very effective tool. I ran out of time with this one. I am glad it all worked out. Sometimes the making-a-song-and-dance technique is quite effective!


  15. L’URAGANO – the fundraisers at the school are hard core. They don’t work so I guess fundraising for the school defines them somewhat. They hate to be crossed. I must admit, I did swallow nervously a couple of times when I saw her coming at me, but for the fish, I stood my ground!


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