Stop Swallowing Live Goldfish at Athletic Events


Target: Michael Short, Principal of Perrysburg High School

Goal: Replace cruel fish-swallowing tradition with a compassionate and wholesome alternative

A school tradition of eating live goldfish has been in practice for nearly three decades now at Perrysburg High School in Perrysburg, Ohio. During an annual basketball game against their rival team from Maumee High School, the students and players left the gymnasium at halftime to swallow goldfish outside. Some students will swallow several of the small fish as a way of showing off, with one boy swallowing as many as 14.

The principal of the high school not only allows, but celebrates the bizarre ritual, claiming that it is rooted in school tradition. The tradition began in 1981 after a few students planned to eat worms before a basketball game, but ate goldfish instead. The school’s principal says that the practice, which has been moved outside in recent years, will be more memorable to students than most academic activities.

Not only does the school’s tradition most likely break laws set by Ohio state to protect animals, but live, raw fish could be host to several different parasites or bacteria. Invasive parasites such as roundworms, tapeworms, and Anisakis can be contracted by eating raw fish, as can salmonella.

Goldfish, though generally thought to be a relatively simple creature, are actually capable of great suffering. Sentenced to death by digestive acids or suffocation without water – whichever comes first – these goldfish are put through immense panic and pain before their cruel and unnecessary deaths. Urge Perrysburg High School to replace their dated ‘tradition’ with a more humane and progressive one.


Dear Michael Short, Principal of Perrysburg High School

At an annual basketball match, students at Perrysburg High School swallow live goldfish as part of a tradition that originated over 30 years ago. Some students swallow several fish in an effort to show off to their peers, all with the school’s approval. The small fish can carry harmful parasites and bacteria, including tapeworms, roundworms, and salmonella.

Not only is the practice questionable in terms of human health, but it is also objectionable in terms of moral soundness. Goldfish, though widely believed to be unintelligent creatures, can actually feel great suffering, including pain and fear. Perrysburg High School’s tradition sentences these creatures to death by acidic digestive juices, as well as subjects them to fear and panic from the moment they are plucked from the water. I urge you to replace this dated and cruel tradition with something more compassionate and progressive, such as perhaps a spicy pepper or a dead and prepared anchovy.


{Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Pogrebnoj-Alexandroff via WikiMedia Commons

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  1. each animal creature– not ours ..– it belongs to nature and have the full right to live their own,LIFE-total freedom!!!nature without animals will contribute to massive cataclysms!!!we as humans have a duty to protect them and to protect–take good take for them and protect their right to be in places where they have to be//!!!/….

  2. Russell Wagner says:

    Goldfish swallowing started as a joke in a Chicago steak house. The owner Matt Shane I belive was entertaining people with close up magic he would swith out the goldfish with pcs. Of carrot cut like gold fish. Collage students who seen the trick thought he was really swallowing gold fish. It’s been done since then in collages that never revised he didn’t swallow the fish. They where fooled then and are still carrying on the tradition

  3. It’s really appalling, that anyone can buy a creature, and then do anything they want to it, even kill it.

    It’s one thing if it’s to not starve still debatable, (like that guy who killed and ate his german shepard dog after it tried to help him-the dog probably also starving, did not turn on it’s owner and eat him-so the poor dog died at the hands of one it trusted traitorous human,) and another, if it’s for shallow entertainment, or any entertainment.


  4. This is hilarious. Animals are ours, we have dominated them. They are perfectly edible. It is not like other animals eat them “better”.

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