By Cara Sulieman
ANIMAL welfare officers have blasted event organisers who want to use live fish to decorate tables at posh dinner parties.
The Scottish SPCA say that putting the helpless animals up as decorations leaves them vulnerable to cruelty from drunken revelers.
And they have warned that the event organisers could face prosecution and a hefty fine if the fish are used and are found to be suffering.
The charity is speaking out after reports of cruel behavior at weddings and other events filtered back to them.
Scottish SPCA chief inspector John Carle said: “These fish may look very pretty, but as the night wears on and people become influenced by alcohol that’s when the problems start.
“We have heard of people emptying alcoholic drinks into the bowls or trying to take the fish out of the water.”
And although the thought of a drunken goldfish may bring a smile to the faces of your guests, it is less enjoyable for the floundering fish.
Water quality is important for animal welfare and they need to be kept away from the inevitable bright lights and loud music that come with a good party.
Just like every other animal, goldfish are protected under the Animal Health and Welfare Act – giving the same responsibilities to their owners as owners of other animals.
And when the guests have gone home and the goldfish are no longer needed more problems surface.
Chief inspector Carle added: “We would also be very concerned about what happens to the fish at the end of the night, when they are no longer required.”
The charity say it has heard of hundreds of goldfish being flushed down the toilet after their night of torture.
And many wedding and event planners agree with the Scottish SPCA’s views, saying that they advise against the use of animals at parties.
Alison Love, Managing Director of Miss Love Weddings tries to guide her clients towards other unusual options.
She said: “I would never advise using goldfish and would whole heartedly agree with the views of the Scottish SPCA.
“If my clients are looking for a more novel centre piece then there are many options available that do not involve animals.”
The best advice is to keep your table decorations artificial and give the living animals a miss.
Chief Inspector Carle warned: “Goldfish are living, breathing creatures that have the right to enjoy a suitable living environment. Water quality is essential to the welfare of fish.
“Our advice to anyone thinking about using live fish as table centrepieces would be – think again. You could find yourself facing a considerable fine and you can also be given a lifetime ban on keeping animals.”