Goldfish ad withdrawn, SPCA delighted

2011-05-20 14:21

Johannesburg - The National Council of SPCAs is "delighted" that an advert featuring a goldfish struggling to breathe has been withdrawn.

"The National Council of SPCAs believes that the definition of an animal in the Animals Protection Act includes fish and that without a doubt, fish can suffer and feel pain," spokesperson Christine Kuch said in a statement on Friday.

"The NCSPCA is delighted to report on [the] landmark finding."

She was reacting to a ruling by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) that an advert by the SA Cystic Fibrosis Trust, featuring a goldfish out of water on a table struggling to breathe, must be withdrawn.

In the advert, the fish is thrown back into the water after a few seconds and swims around again.

A voice-over then states: "Like a fish out of water should be an expression, not something to describe your breathing, yet today millions around the world suffer from a debilitating, terminal disease called cystic fibrosis - a disease that makes them feel like they’re about to take their last breath. The South African Cystic Fibrosis Trust needs your help…”

‘Goldfish can feel pain’

ASA received a complaint about the advert, that was flighted on DStv channels, from Ms JD Baird, who complained it showed cruelty to animals as the fish had to fight for its life.

Kuch said there was scientific proof goldfish could feel pain. There had also been no supervision by a relevant organisation, such as the NCSPCA or the Animal Anti-Cruelty League, during the shooting of the advert.

ASA confirmed the ruling, saying it was handed down on April 19.

It concluded that "given the lack of evidence of supervision or approval of the relevant footage, coupled with the potential for imitation and concomitant harm to animals, the commercial is in contravention of [the regulation]... that states that advertisers must satisfy the ASA that no animal was caused pain or distress in the course of making any advertisement".

The UK-based Telegraph reported on its website last year that scientists had done tests on goldfish to try and determine if they felt pain.

In the test, half the fish received a painkilling injection of morphine and half did not, after which all fish were exposed to painful heat.

The reactions were the same initially, but two hours afterwards, the fish that did not get morphine, "showed hovering behaviour and were less active", scientist Joseph Garner told The Telegraph.

"These are defence and fear behaviours," he said.

This proved, according to Garner, that "there is some sort of central experience of that painful stimulus".

  • Lab-Rat - 2011-05-20 14:35

    I really wish I had that much time on my hands to worry about the rights of a goldfish.

      cr1t - 2011-05-20 14:57

      You might if you spend less time on the internet and commenting on things you have no idea about.

      Barry M - 2011-05-20 16:29

      I complained to the SPCA about the plight of a Macaw at a local plant nursery - I even arranged free treatment for the bird at a prominent Avian Vet - all the SPCA had to do was instruct the owners to ensure that the bird cot to the vet - after a number of phone calls to the SPCA and numerous promises from them they did nothing to help the bird - and then they worry about a frigging goldfish - I have consequently withdrawn my support for the SPCA. They are all p!ss and wind and no substance!

      Adrian Frith - 2011-05-20 17:45

      @Barry M: there's a difference between your local SPCA and the NSPCA (National Council of SPCAs). The local ones are independently run, but if you have a problem with one of them you can complain to the NSPCA and they may be able to do something about it.

      amos - 2011-05-22 16:14

      All freeking fish are "cold blooded" we were told in class that cold blooded animals feel no pain. Has this now changed or is the SPCA merely occupying their time.

  • Don Ass - 2011-05-20 14:36


      SoulChild - 2011-05-20 15:57

      More like dumb ass!

  • Daemos1 - 2011-05-20 14:38


  • Voyager - 2011-05-20 14:48

    So according to you lot, we can treat fish in any cruel manner we like because at some point a fool told us they have no feelings? Why didn't they just drown a kitten to prove the same point? What makes a kittens life worth more than a fish's?

  • AquaticApe - 2011-05-20 14:53

    Torturing and killing fish for fun or sport is extremely cruel and inhumane. Angling is a sick activity.

      werner.coetzer - 2011-05-20 15:11

      Dumbass, its called the circle of life

      Lydon - 2011-05-20 15:35

      Then what are you still doing here?

  • Robbie - 2011-05-20 14:54

    The SPCA does not care about cruelty to humans though...

      Pigmalion - 2011-05-20 15:00

      The "A" in SPCA stands for animals dude.

      Pamela - 2011-05-20 16:45

      There are other organizations for that. duh

  • daboss247365 - 2011-05-20 15:06

    Its strange how the emotions work.. i get so dam angry & upset if I ever see a dead, homeless or sufferring dog... but never felt much for a goldfish.. oh well... ya, if they have so much rights, we might was well all starve to death & become extinct as any farming is in effect cruel.. I just cant wait till vegeterians get told that grass, plants & the soy bean have rights & feelings too...

      ChrisG - 2011-05-20 15:29

      Ha ha ha, you read my mind. After they got the cockroach advert stopped I lost all respect for the SPCA. We've got millions of people starving and they're worried about the roaches? Losers.

      daboss247365 - 2011-05-20 15:33

      Yeah, thats a major flaw with liberals... they push it to the point that nothing makes any sense or matches up anymore... Fish with rights, roaches with rights... OK then, fine, lets destroy the fishing industry & all die from disease while we allow these equal righted roaches their fair share of our food supplies... yeah right.

      Lydon - 2011-05-20 15:36

      At least they're doing SOMETHING of use with their time. Who are you to judge sitting behind your PC commenting on "losers?" Get out and do something about the starving people if you're so concerned about them.

      Pamela - 2011-05-20 16:47

      @Lydon Completely agree with you!

  • Marc Pendlebury - 2011-05-20 15:24

    What absolute and utter nonsense! Its not like the fish died! And if it did feel any pain, which it can't comprehend the same as an animal of higher intelligence, it would have forgotten about it after 10 seconds because they have short memories. The footage was already filmed, so by pulling the ad the fish suffered in vain. Also, the cause was noble: to raise funds for Cystic Fibrosis sufferes. I'm sure the fish wouldn't have been opposed to holding its breath for a few seconds to help raise some funds.

      daboss247365 - 2011-05-20 15:31

      LMIMPI, this fish doesnt even know what the fuss is about

      Pamela - 2011-05-20 16:51

      So it's fine to cause pain to animals? It would be fine to hold a cat or dog under water? Is that what you're saying? It's either you're for all animals or for none.

  • Bernoo - 2011-05-20 15:34

    Wait.. Let me get this right.. One charity is bashing another...

  • Animal Lover - 2011-05-20 15:34

    Amazing how the SPCA worries about Gold Fish, when I needed them to treat my puppy with a broken leg after being hit by a car, they simply turned their backs on me. They said they cant do anything because people don't pay and I was already being classified as one of those people before I could even get a oppertunity to make payment. No questions were asked. I was send from pillar to post with no help from the SPCA. I basicly had to carry my puppy around untill such time we could find a private vet cause this all happened over the start of the Easter weekend. I take my hat of to Brackenhurst Animal Hospital who really did everything for my puppy and she is good as new again. I will never, ever support the SPCA again and Im a huge animal lover. They quick to ask for sponserships and handouts, but when it comes to you, they simply find excuses.

      StJohn - 2011-05-20 15:57

      Some of their branches are PATHETIC I agree. Why don't you find out about private charities in your area, ie, Wetnose, 4Paws, Barking Mad, Animals in Distress for (G_d forbid) future reference. ALSO, Fourways Vet is fantastic for emergencies.

      JEJ - 2011-05-22 15:30

      You are not an animal lover, idiot!!!! If you were, you would go and HELP as a volunteer and NOT keep dogs when you are clearly not fit to!!!!

  • Michael Pitt - 2011-05-20 15:39

    ag please i hate people like this rather save a dog!!!!! than a starving child !!!!!!!!!

      Animal Lover - 2011-05-20 15:54

      There is enough charities for starving children than a injured animal, please man, do me a favour and get a life. You oviously dont have a heart. You should not hate anyway, if you hate, how can you care about a starving child. Please!!!!!!!!

  • StJohn - 2011-05-20 15:41

    "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated. I hold that, the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to protection by man from the cruelty of man" Mahatma Gandhi

      Pamela - 2011-05-20 16:52

      1 million likes!

      Animal Lover - 2011-05-20 17:10

      Hi StJohn, thank you so much for your input but I did come right at Brackenhurst Hospital in Hennie Alberts. They were so amazing and realy went out of there way and they put the dog first before any cost. Sadly she lost her right back leg but they tried everything before amputating the leg. Dr. Carla Smith was realy excelent.

      JEJ - 2011-05-22 15:32

      10 zillion likes!! And also based on very clear psychologial research!

  • Gooi die klippe - 2011-05-20 15:42

    I like fishing....

      Gooi die klippe - 2011-05-20 15:44


  • AntyPanty - 2011-05-20 15:45

    but I love their music.

  • Brodie84 - 2011-05-20 15:56

    Painful heat? In other words they were boiled. I hope the scientists enjoyed their smoked kippers with a cup of tea.

  • Robschele - 2011-05-20 16:15

    Is it in China or Korea where they fry half the fish and then eat it while the head is still moving. Now that is cruelty because that fish has no chance to recover. In the advert they put the goldfish at least back in the water and it swam again. I thought a goldfish has a memory of only three seconds. Now it reacted after two hours.

  • zulufox - 2011-05-20 16:17

    Fish is food, eventually it is killed for human consumption... Jeez!

  • wayne2710 - 2011-05-20 17:54

    They must have taken that Goldfish out of the bowl 50 - 100 times to get the right shot. Definite cruelty.

  • Janine - 2011-05-20 19:06

    I'm sorry but I think that the bunny huggers have gone a bit too far this time.

  • ButSeriously - 2011-05-20 20:09

    I must be honest - did not like the ad to begin with. My son suffers from Cystic Fibrosis, and it's just too close to home when you realise how difficult something simple, like breathing, can be for sufferers. I hope that they start a more suitable ad campaign, as this is a cause that needs a lot more exposure.

  • Freakeee - 2011-05-20 21:51

    Maybe humans should also start eating their young...It's ok lil Timmy served a purpose and he would have only grown up to make idiotic statements about animal cruelty on news sites so it is ok really and when he is dead he wont remember being eaten so really it is ok - No? Didn't think so Remember everybody does not see animals as walking meat sacks

      StJohn - 2011-05-23 11:03

      Well said! I so agree with you.

  • pages:
  • 1