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Pembrokeshire becomes latest to ban pets as prizes

Eight local authorities have now banned the outdated practice in Wales

Pets as prizes

RSPCA Cymru has welcomed moves by Pembrokeshire County Council who have banned the giving of pets as prizes on their land, after their Cabinet unanimously supported an RSPCA-backed motion.

They are the latest council in Wales to take the stand against the outdated practice – following the #NoFunAtTheFair Pets as Prizes campaign, which was re-launched by the RSPCA back in June.

It also comes as more than 7,500 supporters have now taken the campaign action which contacts their local authority in their individual regions to ban pets being allowed to be given out as prizes.

The motion was put forward by Councillor Alistair Cameron and was passed unanimously – by nine votes to nil – at Monday’s cabinet meeting (September 5). It was also agreed the Council would write to the Welsh Government urging an outright ban on the giving of live animals as prizes on both public and private land.

Pembrokeshire County Councillor, Councillor Alistair Cameron, said: “I am delighted that Cabinet has backed my Notice of Motion that an outright ban on the giving of live animals as prizes in any form is implemented on Council land.

“I’m also pleased the Council will write to the Welsh Government requesting an outright ban on both public and private land across Wales and I hope that the move taken by this Council will increase the likelihood of a total ban across the country.

 “Animal ownership is a big responsibility that needs to be planned and well-thought out, in order to help provide the best quality of life for that animal – not a spur of the moment event resulting from a game. There is no place in the 21st century for pets being given as prizes.”

Councillor Jon Harvey also requested for a further recommendation – which was agreed – in that the Council also writes to all Town and Community Councils in Pembrokeshire requesting that they also implement an outright ban on the giving of live animals as prizes in any form on any land they control.

Pembrokeshire follows Caerphilly County Borough Council, Cardiff Council, Conwy County Borough Council, Neath Port Talbot Council, Newport City Council, The Vale of Glamorgan Council and Wrexham County Borough Council, who have already taken action.

RSPCA Cymru’s public affairs manager, Chris O’Brien, said: “We are delighted that Pembrokeshire County Council has taken this action, which really highlights how important animal welfare is to local representatives and their constituents.

“It is also fantastic that the council is going to write to the Welsh Government to encourage them to consider an all-Wales ban; and will also be writing to their local town and community councils to also encourage them to adopt bans on their land too – which is a great proposal.

“There’s huge momentum behind this campaign; and that’s in no small part to our amazing supporters who have urged their local Council and Councillors to act in such jaw-dropping numbers.

“Many people are quite shocked when they hear that giving fish and other pets as prizes isn’t already banned – so we hope that we can continue to raise awareness and hope the local authorities who are contacted as part of this campaign listen to their constituents and take action promptly.”

Chris 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 both the Welsh Government and UK Government that pets being given away as prizes should be banned outright, and that national legislation in both countries is ultimately a requirement.

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 – progres 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