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An Open Letter to the Alameda County Fair

Updated: Mar 23

Dear Alameda County Agricultural Fair Association Board of Directors,


We, the undersigned, are individuals and organizations in Alameda County and the surrounding area that are committed to promoting the well-being of animals.

We respectfully ask that you discontinue the practice of awarding live fish as prizes for games at the Alameda County Fair and other events. This practice raises a number of concerns.


Animal Welfare: 

Goldfish have specific environmental requirements, and they may experience stress and shortened lives if they are awarded to people who are not knowledgeable or prepared to properly care for them.


Pet Ownership:

This practice undermines the planning and ongoing commitment involved in responsible pet ownership, and it can inadvertently encourage a disposable attitude towards fish by treating them like objects for short-term entertainment.


Environmental Impact: 

Those who no longer want their fish may resort to dumping them into a nearby lake or river which can disrupt the local ecosystem.


Local Precedent: 

The City of Berkeley made it illegal to give out live fish as prizes in 2017 (municipal code 10.12.235). 


We ask that the Alameda County Fair set a positive example for responsible pet ownership in our community by no longer allowing the practice of awarding live fish as prizes at future events arranged by your organization. 


Thank you for taking the time to consider this issue.


Sincerely,


Ariel Heinicke

Petopia Club, Foothill High School, Pleasanton

Berkeley Organization for Animal Advocacy, Berkeley

  • Hollie Becker, Berkeley Organization for Animal Advocacy Officer

  • Ipshita Bag, Berkeley Organization for Animal Advocacy Officer

  • Kevin Korevaar, Berkeley Organization for Animal Advocacy Officer

  • Stanley Ho, Berkeley Organization for Animal Advocacy Officer

Ocean Conservancy Club, Amador Valley High School, Pleasanton

Isabelle Cifu

Simone Stevens


Live goldfish given out as prizes at the 2023 Alameda County Fair

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