RSPCA warns ‘neknominees’ that drinking live fish is against the law

February 10, 2014

The RSPCA has warned pranksters taking part in online drinking craze, “Neknomination” that eating live goldfish is against the law. The animal welfare charity says it will be launching animal cruelty investigations into people who film themselves downing goldfish as part of the bizarre drinking game after receiving several complaints about such footage. The game has already achieved worldwide notoriety after the deaths of two young Irish men in separate incidents were thought to be linked to the craze.

A young Newry woman faced a backlash of abuse and threats last week after posting a video of herself swallowing a goldfish in an alcoholic drink as part of the internet drinking game.

Rachel Carey, believed to be a trainee solicitor, was forced to change her Facebook account details when she received death threats within hours of the four minute clip being posted.

The 23 year old, who is thought to be travelling in Australia, where the clip was filmed, subsequently posted apologies on her page for the prank,and added that fish are “eaten alive and raw all the time” citing contestants on ITV show I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here as examples.

Following more abuse she then posted: “It was stupid, I get it but all those who (are) bullying, sending death threats and everything else, I get it. Feeling depressed.” She then changed the name on her Facebook account and removed the offending video.

In the wake of similar goldfish swallowing stunts appearing online, RSPCA wildlife scientist Nicola White said:

“We are extremely concerned about this shocking new trend. We have had quite a few similar cases reported to us in a very short space of time – but this could be just the tip of the iceberg as there’s probably many more we have not been told about.

“Eating a live animal and posting of a film of it on the internet is not some light-hearted joke – it is unacceptable. It sends out a clear message that animal cruelty is OK as long as it is in the guise of entertainment.

“We urge people not to take part in this horrible craze and to report to us anyone who is taking part.”

There have been at least 14 calls to the RSPCA about NekNominating footage involving swallowing live fish in the last few days.

Eating live fish is an offence under the Animal Welfare Act, and the RSPCA are investigating several of the cases.