A RSPCA campaign calling for a ban on fish being given as prizes has gathered more than 5,000 people in support in seven days.

The campaign, called #Nofunatthefair, aims to ban the giving away of animals as prizes, most likely goldfish at fun fairs.

Last year, the campaign received 9,192 pledges of support from people in England and Wales and there is optimism that this year will see even more support from the public.

There are 27 local authorities in England and Wales that have banned the practice, including the Vale of Glamorgan Council.

Lauren Wylde, campaigns officer for the RSPCA, said: "We are absolutely delighted that we have received this level of support in just a few days which will help to raise this issue across England and Wales.

"To have 5,025 supporters get involved in just a week is fantastic and we wish to thank every single one of them.

"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."

Goldfish can suffer greatly when kept as prizes in plastic bags and ailments such as oxygen deprivation and shock can greatly affect them.

The fish can even die if the temperature of the water they are kept in changes.

Since 2015, the RSPCA has had 147 calls about pets being given as prizes, though that has stalled in recent years presumably because of the Covid pandemic.

However, as fairs are making a comeback in the UK this summer as lockdown restrictions have been eased, the RSPCA are concerned that the amount of pets being given as prizes will increase.

Ms Wylde said: "Although reports of pets given out have stalled since coronavirus restrictions began due to events not taking place - we really do fear this will change this summer as fairgrounds and fetes return properly for 2022. 

"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."

Despite several local authorities in England and in Wales banning the practice, the aim is to get legislation introduced on a national level.

In Wales, the Welsh Government suggested in 2019 a willingness to act and that it would take forward "a separate piece of work" on the issue; though this has yet to materialise.

The Vale of Glamorgan Council recently joined Newport City Council, Caerphilly County Borough Council, Wrexham County Borough Council and Conwy County Borough Council in banning the practice.

Ruba Sivagnanam, the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s Glamorgan Council’s cabinet member for community engagement, equalities and regulatory services, said: "Giving animals away as prizes is completely inappropriate and, as a council, we support the RSPCA’s stance that this practice should be stopped.

"To that end, we do not allow any event that offers animals as prizes to take place on council land.

"The council takes animal welfare very seriously. I would discourage anyone to become involved in events where animals are prizes. Please consider reporting the matter to the RSPCA."