A Devon man has been disqualified from keeping fish for five years after he admitted causing unnecessary suffering to two goldfish by swallowing them as part of a ‘Neknomination’ stunt.
Ben Elphick of Foxtor Close, Plymouth appeared at Plymouth Magistrates’ Court on Friday 9 May where he was fined £400 and ordered to pay £1,090 in costs in addition to the disqualification, after admitting the offence which occurred on or about 7 February this year.
The RSPCA was contacted about the incident after video footage was posted on Facebook. The footage shows Elphick adding alcohol to a glass before putting a goldfish in it and drinking all the liquid together with the fish. He then goes to another glass with a goldfish already in it and drinks that too.
RSPCA inspector Jo Pearson said: “Although the defendant had tried to argue that he had substituted the first goldfish for a carrot through sleight of hand and held the second under his tongue until the camera stopped, careful analysis showed that this was not the case.
“A vet report advised that the fish would be unable to breathe in the alcohol and would rapidly become distressed. After being swallowed, the high stomach acid would create a totally unsuitable environment for the fish that would in time lead to death.”
In mitigation the court heard that Mr Elphick was remorseful.
Inspector Pearson added: “Eating a live animal and posting a video of it online for entertainment is not acceptable. These fish would have suffered needlessly as part of this ‘game’ and we take the issue of animals used in these challenges very seriously.
“If anyone sees animals being used as part of this craze, they should contact the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999.”