What rights do goldfish have?

1978: The final act of a British play titled The Last Temptation involved a goldfish bowl, with a live goldfish inside, being thrown across the stage, causing the fish to tumble onto the ground, where it died. Outraged animal lovers sued, prompting a two-year legal battle in which the courts deliberated on whether it was possible to be cruel to goldfish. Or rather, should goldfish enjoy the protections given to other animals such as cats and dogs?

The first court ruled that goldfish enjoyed no such protections, but in 1980 the High Court overturned this decision, ruling that it is, indeed, possible to be cruel to goldfish, and that the law should not allow such behavior.

I'm not sure if there's any equivalent American law pertaining to goldfish. But I imagine that if there was then surely boiling lobsters alive would also be illegal.

The Guardian - Nov 3, 1978

Victoria Times Colonist - July 30, 1980

     Posted By: Alex - Thu Aug 20, 2020
     Category: Law | Fish | 1970s

You can boil a lobster to eat it and still not be permitted to let it die just for fun. Plus, lobsters can withstand more time outside water than fish, as anybody who purchased live lobsters to boil them could tell you. That means even though there might be no law forbidding people to let a lobster on a theater floor for half an hour, it could still be forbidden to do the same to a goldfish. Also, there are laws against the cruel killing of animals, which means you cannot slaughter a pig, a cow, or another farm animal without the proper permits and technique.
Posted by Yudith on 08/20/20 at 11:49 AM
While I find that animals can be good servants, I have no desire to serve as their subject.
Posted by KDP on 08/20/20 at 09:04 PM
This prompted me to check about Naruto, the crested macaque who took that great selfie. Alas, the human courts never gave him the copyright. According to Wikipedia, there is a documentary being made of the whole affair, so maybe we'll see him again.
The Appeals Court did suggest that PETA had sued the wrong monkey.
Posted by Virtual in Carnate on 08/21/20 at 07:54 AM
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