Two Men Under Investigation For Eating Live Goldfish
The RSPCA are looking into the background of two men who posted a video online of them eating a live goldfish in a pet shop in Sydney.
The incident occurred at Petbarn Penrith store in Sydney's west and the footage have been viewed over 7 million times.
In the video, everything appears normal at first. The pair are seen looking for a fish and pointing to the one that they want before a staff member scoops it out and places it in a plastic bag.
The employee walks away to get elastic bands to hold the bag shut. As she walks out of sight one man says, "Is this the goldfish we want?" before placing his hand in the bag, pulling out the goldfish and swallowing it whole.
The staff member returns and is visibly confused to find the bag empty while the two men laugh.
In the next shot the man can be seen throwing up the fish outside the store.
David O'Shannessy, Chief Inspector for RSPCA NSW has said that a "large number" of complaints were made to the RSPCA after members of the public viewed the disturbing footage.
He has said that the incident will be "thoroughly investigated."
"It's completely astounding how anyone could think it is funny to eat a live pet fish, where it would suffer a slow and painful death, all in a poor attempt at humour," said Mr O Shannessy.
"The law is very clear around protections for fish and other sentient beings under the legislation."
Any act of animal cruelty can be punishable by a fine, imprisonment or both according to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979.
The chief executive of Petbarn, Martin Nicholas, said in a statement that the company is "deeply upset at the treatment of animals in this video".
"The wellbeing and welfare of pets is of the utmost importance to us and core to our values," he said.
"Our team is investigating this upsetting episode further.
"We have reported the incident to the RSPCA and will fully cooperate in action that can be taken."