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Old 02-02-2005, 07:42 PM   #1
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Goldfish Shots-fish cruelty.

Goldfish Shots
CALGARY, ALBERTA-February 2, 2005 — You've heard of Jello shots, but how about goldfish shots? Canadian animal welfare officials say they're investigating a bizarre complaint about people drinking live goldfish, swimming in a glass full of booze.

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Cheryl Wallach, a spokeswoman for the Calgary Humane Society, says a downtown restaurant and bar was apparently handing out the goldfish shots.

Wallach says people do a lot of crazy things with animals, but this is a first. Investigators will look into whether the goldfish shot incident actually occurred and whether the fish suffered.

A manager at the restaurant says it's something they've always done, but isn't providing any more details.

(Copyright 2005 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

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Old 02-02-2005, 07:51 PM   #2
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Just when you think a betta purse is the worst thing you ever saw.....

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Old 02-02-2005, 07:51 PM   #3
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8O How sad.
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Old 02-02-2005, 07:52 PM   #4
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OH man. That is just gross!
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Old 02-02-2005, 07:54 PM   #5
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You know ... it is something that i think is very unique ... being in the food service industry, uniqueness is something that gets you customers to come in. Now while i agree that it may not be humane, it is also not uncommon to eat goldfish in other countries ... this is where i say it is fine. If the goldfish are raised and bred in very healthy conditions then why not? it isn't going to kill you. I say they get to do it so long as everything passes code for healthiness and cleanliness.
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Old 02-02-2005, 07:54 PM   #6
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Old 02-02-2005, 07:56 PM   #7
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In today's paper, one of the clubs was reported as having stopped that practice. Apparently the goldfish will be fed to a fish in their aquarium.

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Old 02-02-2005, 07:58 PM   #8
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Did they swallow the gold fish whole?? I cant stop thinking about the little fish bones swimming around in a persons intestines. YUCK!!
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Old 02-02-2005, 08:05 PM   #9
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Here's another article from one of the Calgary papers...interested that the representative from the Humane Society said that they had seized fish after a previous complaint...

Fishy concoction shot down
The Calgary Herald
Wed 02 Feb 2005
Page: A1 / Front
Section: News
Byline: Valerie Fortney
Column: Valerie Fortney
Source: Calgary Herald

At this weekend's Mardi Gras celebrations at Booker's BBQ Grill and Crab Shack, revellers will be treated to palm readers, Cajun cuisine and the Hurricane, a drink made with rum, grenadine, Amaretto and three juices.

Just don't order the goldfish shooter.

"The goldfish story ends today," says a fatigued Lance Hurtubise, owner of the popular downtown Calgary restaurant and nightspot.

"From now on, all our goldfish will be put to rest inside those guys," he says, pointing to a large aquarium that's home to a handful of big, fat catfish.

That's because on Tuesday city health inspectors ordered the six-year-old establishment to cease and desist its practice of serving up live goldfish in shooters filled with either tequila or Jagermeister, a bitter German liqueur.

"They gave us a clean bill of health, but said we couldn't serve the drink because the fish couldn't be inspected beforehand," says Hurtubise, who found himself in deep water after an e-mail complaint was sent to the Calgary Humane Society, which also paid him a visit Tuesday.

Which raises the question: how in the world did it come to be that a restaurant that describes its main clientele as upscale business types is targeted as an alleged animal rights violator?

Chalk it up to booze-fuelled machismo and too much reality TV. It seems about three months ago, things got a little out of control down at Booker's.

"It was a lark, a Fear Factor-style dare between some friends drinking," says Hurtubise, who adds that since then only about four other customers have taken part in the frat house-style hazing ritual. "It was never on our menu, we didn't even promote it," he says. "This has been blown way out of proportion."

Hurtubise himself was on hand for at least one of the fish-swallowing stunts, what he calls spontaneous moments. "You'd cry when you watch a guy doing this," he says, laughing at the memory. "The fish gets drunk, falls asleep -- it's very humane."

Well, that's one school of thought.

On Tuesday, those whose job it is to guard the safety of animals weren't in a joking mood. Cheryl Wallach, spokeswoman for the Calgary Humane Society, describes the practice of downing goldfish with shooters as "a ridiculously strange thing to do -- it makes no sense to us why someone would want to do something like this."

Over the past decade, Wallach can only recall one other time her organization felt it was important enough to follow up on a fish complaint.

"We seized fish from a home aquarium that had water so black, you couldn't see the fish."

This particular case, says Wallach, was unlike any other. "We don't condone killing animals for entertainment . . . this is obviously done for entertainment purposes." If such an act were committed during the making of a film, for instance, she says the film would not likely qualify for the society's humane stamp of approval.

But the area of fish is a murky one when it comes to enforcing the provincial Animal Protection Act, which covers animal neglect, as well as the Criminal Code, which covers animal abuse. "The biggest challenge," says Wallach, "is I don't know if there's any scientific agreement as to whether fish feel pain."

Clearly, Wallach hasn't met Karin Robertson.

The manager of the Fish Empathy Project for the organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Robertson is emphatic about the need to elevate fish up the intelligence food chain.

"People wouldn't find this cute or entertaining whatsoever if it was any other type of animal," she said over the phone from PETA headquarters in Norfolk, Va. "The only reason we don't see this as cruel is because people don't realize how intelligent fish are."

Robertson directs skeptics to www.fisharesmart.com, a PETA-sponsored website that cites several recent studies from top universities, many of which have uncovered new insights into the intelligence of fish.

"Fish form complex social structures similar to a pack of dogs," says Robertson. "They have long-term memories, and even eavesdrop on one another."

Still, for some reason goldfish have long been the targets of those looking to win friends and influence people, at least when they're drunk. It's said that the now mostly dormant college stunt of swallowing live goldfish started in the late 1930s at none other than Harvard University. (Some say it died out after the U.S. Public Health Service warned the fish may contain tapeworms or harbour a disease that causes the swallower to become anemic.)

Robert Thompson's not impressed with the fish shooter story, but for very different reasons. "When the college students did it, it was done in a manly way," says the director of Syracuse University's Center for the Study of Popular Television. "There was none of this drink as a chaser stuff."

He agrees that while a show like Fear Factor may play a role, it too requires a much higher degree of machismo -- or stupidity, depending on your point of view.

"The last couple of seasons of the show make goldfish swallowing seem like child's play," he says. "If these guys were swallowing live rats, then they'd be competing on a Fear Factor level.

"What I really want to know," says Thompson, "is if they were playing the soundtrack to Finding Nemo when they were doing the shooters."

For his part, the owner of Booker's has definitely learned a valuable lesson. Well, sort of.

"Maybe we were wrong and we apologize to the people we offended," says Hurtubise, glancing over his shoulder at the goldfish-filled aquarium behind the bar (if the fish were eavesdropping, they didn't let on).

Then, smiling mischievously, he adds, "Hey, you can look at it as just super-fresh sushi. C'mon, I can't believe this is a news story."

Legitimate news story or not, it's one heck of a fish tale.


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