Berkeley bans use of fish as prizes at carnivals

- Unless it comes in the form of a stuffed animal, goldfish and betta fish will not be allowed to be given away as carnival prizes in the city of Berkeley, under a new proposal. 

Last week, the Berkeley City Council unanimously passed an ordinance to prohibit carnivals or any other business, to hand out fish as prizes or for promotional purposes, because of animal cruelty concerns. 

The ordinance was sponsored by city Councilman Kriss Worthington who noted that a similar state law bans live chicks, rabbits, ducklings, or other fowl for the use of prizes, but does not go as far is including fish.

Worthington told KTVU that the proposal seeks "not just to cover Berkeley, but to build momentum for changing the state law."

The ordinance was proposed by high school student and former intern of Worthington's office, Simone Stevens.

A student at Head Royce, Stevens came up with the proposal inspired by an investigation by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), which found breeding and storing practices were inhumane and led to a high death rate for fish bred in captivity.

Worthington said his office includes a large number of student interns who are encouraged to take part in the process of legislative change and propose policy ideas.

The councilman notes that his top priorities remain focused on affordable student housing and public safety, but said he is encouraged to see the young people in his office take part in the process of creating policy and work toward making a difference in their community. 

The fish ordinance is scheduled for a second reading on Oct. 31, when it's expected to receive final approval. 

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