Bolton has won the RSPCA’s praises after the town joined a growing campaign to ban the giving of pets as prizes.

Earlier this month, town hall leaders decided to write to the government asking them to ban the giving of pets, such as goldfish, as prizes.

They have joined more than 80 councils around England and Wales in calling for the practice to be banned, which has now won plaudits from the RSPCA.

RSPCA public affairs manager Lee Gingell said: “We are delighted that more and more local authorities, and community councils too, are taking action and we’d like to thank each and every one of them for their support.

“It is really clear that people are shocked to find this is still happening and there is also a strong body of opinion, 84 per cent of people, who also want local governments to ban it on their own land.

The Bolton News: Goldfish are often associated with being given as prizesGoldfish are often associated with being given as prizes (Image: Canva)

“We are continuing to call on our supporters and councillors across England and Wales to get involved to help this practice come to an end and we hope to see our list of those who have brought in bans grow and grow.

“We’re aware that some councils already have bans in place through their events terms and conditions, so it would be great to hear from them so we can add them to our list.”

The RSPCA launched the No Fun At The Fair campaign in June this year and since then 12,295 people have come forward to support the campaign.

Earlier in October Bolton Council unanimously approved a motion put by Cllr Liam Barnard, of Little Lever, which called on the authority to back the campaign.

The pets most associated with prizes historically have been goldfish, which can suffer from shocks when moved into new water after being won at fairs.

Mr Gingell said: “They're misunderstood pets as they can make great companions; but can actually be challenging to look after.

“New owners must do their research before they acquire the fish, not afterwards. 

“Before 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.”

When putting his motion forward, Cllr Barnard also drew on the goldfish example.

He said: "When I was younger my brother and I went to the fairground and he won a goldfish.

"When he was 18 he still had it in the tank, whether it was the same goldfish I am not 100 per cent sure.

"However, these days it is a different matter because if somebody went to a fairground and won a fish, their parents could not afford to buy the tank because of the cost of living crisis.”

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Bolton Council had already banned the practice on its own premises many years ago.

But the motion to call on the government to go further was also supported by Cllr Adele Warren, of Breightmet.

She said:  "The council should be proud because this has been a policy for many, many years.

"We have no problem supporting this motion and signing up to the campaign, but I think we should be proud because it has been a condition of licensing for a long time."