Are Funfairs Vegan?

The Fun fair has come to town and I found myself driving past wondering this question, it seems a regular occurrence in my head these days as I debate with myself or check that the things I do and buy line up with my ethics. 

Despite what is said by the naysayers, most vegans do consider things beyond their diet and try to live a life that causes no impact or harm to animals. 

So it was a reasonable question for myself to ask. 

I quickly reassured myself, yes of course fun fairs are vegan, we could debate their impact on the environment or safety record, but I had so far convinced myself there was nothing that exploited animals at a fun fair. 

And so with a fairly long covid behind us and a much needed dose of fun for the kids I decided, it’s time to go to the fun fair, I’m not really a fan but I do remember the excitement of going to a fun fair as a kid so, I was fairly happy to let the kids run loose and spend stupid amounts of money on the fair ground favourites. 

Come the day, it was a wash out, so much so the site had to close, so I had to break the news to the kids, they didn’t seem too upset. 

Perhaps we can fit it in, before they close, although with the amount of rain we’d been having, I wasn’t too keen, not that I dislike the rain but I was worried the site might be too muddy/slippy. 


The very next day I see a post in the local vegan group – They are giving away goldfish as prizes at this very fun fair.

After the initial, OMG, is that even legal we discover it is legal to give goldfish away as prizes, but suddenly the fun fair is presented in a very different light. 

It brings up a new question in my mind, can we now support the fun fair knowing they are doing this, I mean the fate of those poor Goldfish, incidentally, years ago and pre vegan I myself won a goldfish at a fun fair, called Joey, I looked after him and he survived for many years and grew to be enormous, probably in retrospect too small for the tank I had him in.  But I feel I’m an exception and most of these prize fish do not have the happy life I was able to provide to Joey. 

I decided to notify the kids, of the fun fairs bad practise and see their response, after a few, we should go and win all the Goldfish, to rescue them, and I explained that that wouldn’t be good because of supply and demand, and then having to explain theft is illegal, when their next responce was to perform some kind of undercover rescue attempt. 

We all decided that we wouldn’t visit the Fun fair because we didn’t want to support them.

But I go back to my initial question, are funfairs vegan? The goldfish is a pretty small part of the funfair, and perhaps no different than shopping at tescos and just avoiding the possibility of buying the non vegan elements. I suspect some vegans will think it’s acceptable to go to the Funfair and some not, you can certainly still visit the Funfair without partaking in any animal cruelty. 

Sometimes I think things like this are better to approach from a campaign, if enough people that went to the funfair told the funfair that they shouldn’t have goldfish as prizes, might the Funfair stop giving goldfish as prizes? or do we need to go to a government level and campaign for a ban on giving away live animals as prizes. 

It’s fairly easy to justify a reason to do or not do something, often we do it to fit in with our own lifestyles, I’m certainly not going to be banning all Funfairs in the future, but I do truly hope all Funfairs stop giving away goldfish as prizes and and much rather support a funfair that actively didn’t give them away.

Simply boycotting the funfair and doing nothing is unlikely to make any difference. 

Locally a petition was set up to stop the council allowing Goldfish to be given away as prizes, something some councils have agreed on in the UK. 

One thing is for certain we need to stop the very cruel act of giving goldfish away as prizes and then we can all visit a Funfair safe in the knowledge no animals are being harmed in the making of this Funfair. 

So just be careful next time you plan a trip to a Funfair as they may not be as Vegan friendly as you would think.

for some Vegan kids friendly events see our What’s on page

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