‘Goldfish Swim’ Pool Event Tortures 1,000 Fish—It Needs to End Now

Published by Zachary Toliver.

Despite outrage from local and online communities, an Ohio town is still planning to throw 1,000 sensitive, helpless goldfish into a pool for children to grab. PETA needs your help today to end this cruel spectacle.

For nearly 50 years, Springdale has hosted its “Goldfish Swim,” in which children try to catch fish by hand inside a recreational pool. This event treats fish like playthings—it’s apparent that there’s been no consideration for their well-being.

Anyone paying attention knows by now that fish feel pain and can suffer, just as other animals can. Being fought over and grabbed at by rowdy children would be terrifying and even deadly for them. In addition, as one local concerned resident pointed out, despite the claim that the pool is emptied of chlorinated water, chemical residues could still kill the fish. Chlorine causes respiratory distress and ultimately death by asphyxiation as a result of cellular destruction of the gills.

PETA has joined local activists in protest. We’ve contacted Springdale’s mayor as well as Parks and Recreation Commission members to urge them to replace the archaic Goldfish Swim with an event that doesn’t involve animals and can be enjoyed by everyone.

Events like the Goldfish Swim are teaching the next generation supremacy and speciesism.

Children are impressionable, and the last thing we should be teaching them is that it’s OK to bully and exploit smaller, weaker living beings. Instead, we should show them that despite our differences, anyone who wants to live deserves empathy and compassion.

Sure, humans look different from fish. But when it comes to important qualities—such as the ability to feel excitement, create family bonds, cherish life, and experience pain—we’re all the same. Speciesism gets in the way and makes it difficult for humans to grasp how special other animals are. They continue to suffer terribly as they’re intensively farmed, caught on hooks or in nets, and treated like decorations for a room.

Fish pass down culture from one generation to the next. They have their own languages, communicate with gestures, and can distinguish among the faces of members of their own species—which have differences, by the way, that escape the naked human eye. They use tools, choose lifelong partners, and learn by observing. As fellow beings who can suffer and who want to live, fish are worthy of our consideration and respect.

Help Save These Goldfish From Torment

Using our action alert below, please urge Springdale’s Parks and Recreation Department and the city’s mayor to cancel this cruel event—then, forward this alert to everyone you know.

Our “End Speciesism” tee is a sure conversation starter, and great way to broaden people’s vocabulary while letting them know that a difference in species can never justify exploitation or oppression in the name of science, food, sport, entertainment or clothing.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind