July 15, 2021 5.14 pm This story is over 34 months old

Animals as prizes banned by South Kesteven council

Hoping to implement a nationwide ban

By Local Democracy Reporter

South Kesteven District Council has voted to ban awarding of live animals as prizes on land that it owns.

The vote came after Labour councillor Louise Clack raised concern about the number of RSPCA reports on animals being given to people as prizes at fairs or on social media.

She proposed a motion that was passed and seconded by the council and Conservative group leader, Cllr Kelham Cooke, as well as Independent leader Cllr Paul Wood and Cllr Amanda Wheeler of the Liberal Democrats.

After the free vote, members also agreed to write to the government and call for an outright ban on live animal prizes on all public and private land.

The RSPCA has been asking councils across the country to ban it, and the move for the ban came when Cllr Clack said her immediate reaction was to question why it is still legal.

Current legislation in England means that it is only an offence to give away an animal as a prize if the recipient is under 16 and not accompanied by an adult.

While the majority of live animals awarded as prizes are goldfish at fairs, the RSPCA has also reported ducklings, dogs and even horses being given to people as a prize.

Cllr Clack said: “Animals are being transported and held in conditions that do not meet their specific needs.

“This often results in suffering and death before the animals can be awarded as prizes or before the prize winner can get them home.

“If we focus on the example of goldfish, we can see that they are very easily stressed and often suffer shock, oxygen starvation or death caused by sudden temperature change in water.

“SKDC does not have the power to change central legislation and prevent this cruel and unnecessary practice nationally. However, it does have the power to ban this practice on its land and thereby send a message that the safeguarding of animal welfare is a priority for us.”

Cllr Kelham Cooke echoed the sentiments of his fellow councillors, saying: “I am delighted to support this important stance on the issue of animal welfare.

“Pets should be brought in as part of the family after careful consideration of the care and attention they will need, not simply after playing a fairground game.

“Many of us enjoy a visit to the fair or similar events, but while we are doing so animals should not be suffering and this motion means that can no longer happen on South Kesteven District Council land.”