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Complaints End Goldfish Racing In One Bar But Bolsters Other Tavern

TACOMA, Washington ~ (Seattle Weekly/AP) ~ The Harmon Tap Room has decided to cancel goldfish racing after complaints of animal cruelty from PETA.

Bar owner Pat Nagle told the Seattle Weekly, "It was really, really popular. But we started getting all kinds of calls and e-mails from PETA people. It got to the point where Tuesday nights I'd get 60 or 70 e-mails. We went round and round about closing it. But eventually we felt we had to." Nagle was using 10-cent "feeder fish" placed in 8-foot gutter sections filled with water, and then bar patrons would use squirt guns, spray bottles and air blown through straws to encourage the competitors down the track.

The animal rights group, People for Ethical Treatment of Animals, isn't really complaining about the propulsion systems, but rather the treatment of the fish by drunken attendees. A statement from PETA's website states, "...Making matters worse are reports that drunken patrons have impaled some fish with cocktail straws and have swallowed others alive..." PETA notes that the contests are held in many drinking establishments nationwide, and lists contact information for three of them, located in Seattle, Kansas City, and Southaven, Mississippi. They request that concerned people should send an e-mail urging them to give up the event.

Nagle also pointed out his bar wasn't the only Seattle-area tavern offering the event; Woodsky's in Fremont also features goldfish racing on Tuesday nights. Woodsky's owner has not officially commented to the press and the bar has no intention of cancelling the races. As of this time, the latest mention on Woodsky's Facebook page read as follows;

"So a lot of press has been going out with the Goldfish Races being cancelled due to PETA at the Harmon Tap Room. Good News we will continue doing Goldfish races here at Woodsky's if you bring in one of the "Save the Goldfish" Stickers that have been going around Fremont you will receive %50 off your first drink."

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