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Another Welsh council bans pets as prizes

Bridgend County Borough Council has banned the practice on their land

Credit: RSPCA Cymru

RSPCA Cymru has welcomed moves by Bridgend County Borough Council who have banned the giving of pets as prizes on their land.

It means there are now nine councils across Wales who have taken the stand against the outdated practice – following the #NoFunAtTheFair Pets as Prizes campaign, which was re-launched by the RSPCA back in June.

Bridgend Council’s decision follows a meeting with the RSPCA, who are urging local authorities across Wales as to the necessity of a ban.

They follow Caerphilly, Cardiff, Conwy, Neath Port Talbot, Newport, Pembrokeshire, The Vale of Glamorgan and Wrexham, who have already taken action.

It also comes as more than 7,600 supporters have now taken a campaign action, writing to their local Councillors appealing to them to support a ban on pets being allowed to be given out as prizes locally.

On Tuesday 18 October Bridgend County Borough Council’s Cabinet approved the introduction of a ‘pets as prizes’ ban on Council-owned land.

Councillor Rhys Goode, Cabinet Member for Wellbeing and Future Generations, said: “We are delighted to support the RSPCA with this campaign and hope that it will help to bring the charity closer to its goal of persuading the Welsh Government and the UK Government to consign this practice to the past where it belongs.

“We are committed towards maintaining the highest standards of animal welfare across Bridgend County Borough and the superb efforts of The Shared Regulatory Services (SRS) team have not gone unrecognised.”

Sioned Nikolic, RSPCA Cymru’s public affairs advisor, said: “We are delighted that Bridgend County Borough Council has taken this action, which really highlights how important animal welfare is to local representatives and their constituents.

“It is wonderful to see many councils across Wales are taking measures against this practice and we hope our campaign continues to raise awareness and one day pets as prizes will be consigned to the history books.

“We’d like to thank everyone who has supported this campaign so far – which really highlights how important animal welfare is to local representatives and their constituents.”

It is often goldfish that are found to be given out as prizes.

Sioned added: “Animal ownership is a big responsibility – and while goldfish can make great companions, they shouldn’t be acquired via a spur-of-the-moment game.

“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 may die before their new owners can get them home.

“They’re misunderstood pets – as they can make great companions; but can actually be challenging to look after and new owners must do their research before they acquire the fish, not afterwards. When bringing a fish home for the first time, it’s important to set the tank up at least two weeks in advance to make sure it’s all running smoothly, and this just isn’t possible for someone who’s won a fish without being prepared for it.”

The RSPCA continues to make the case to the Welsh Government that pets being given away as prizes should be banned outright, and that national legislation in Wales is ultimately a requirement.

David Bowles, RSPCA head of public affairs, added: “RSPCA Cymru is delighted that Bridgend Council has become the latest local authority to ban the giving of pets as prizes on their land.

“This is great news for goldfish and other animals across the local area.

“We also hope the Welsh Government will ultimately act to bring in a nationwide ban on this practice across Wales.”

In October 2019, the Welsh Government said “a separate piece of work” would happen on pets as prizes, indicating there is governmental will to act – but, as of yet, no further action has been taken.

RSPCA Cymru hopes the Welsh Government will work with local authorities and other stakeholders to reduce the number of pets such as goldfish being given away at fairgrounds and fetes, encourage local authorities to act themselves and – ultimately – progress a national ban on this activity.

The animal welfare charity previously worked closely with campaigner Holly Homer, who raised awareness of this issue in Wales and submitted a petition calling for a ban to the Welsh Parliament’s Petitions Committee. Her petition raised 2,416 signatures and received attention from Members of the Senedd and the media.