– If your kids have ever won a goldfish at a local fair, you probably didn’t go out and buy a huge aquarium, but rather a small fishbowl that you could place almost anywhere in your home. Bad idea, some experts say, and now a pet care company won’t sell the bowls at all. Reuters reports that French aquarium seller AgroBiothers Laboratoire will no longer provide round fish bowls in its inventory, saying cramming a goldfish into such a small space dramatically shortens its lifespan and constitutes abuse. “People buy a goldfish for their kids on a whim, but if they knew how much torture it is, they wouldn’t,” company CEO Matthieu Lambeaux told The Daily Mail. media. “Spinning in circles in a small bowl drives fish mad and kills them quickly.”
Lambeaux notes that goldfish are social sea creatures that seek out other fish for company and need plenty of room in clean water to roam. When cramped in small glass bowls, they often die within months or even weeks; in the wild, they can live up to three decades. Aquarium hazards have long been on PETA’s radar, and the PetHelpful site explains why they’re bad for our gilled friends, including lack of room for a filter, difficulty regulating aquarium temperature, and a poor surface-to-air ratio, which means the fish might not be getting enough oxygen.
The site also notes that the bowl’s curvature distorts the view of fish, which can stress them out: “Imagine if huge fuzzy blobs were crawling around your window every day.” Germany and other EU countries have banned aquariums for some time, but France has no such laws in place. This is why AgroBiothers, which claims almost a third of the market share for pet products in France, has decided to act alone, even if consumers continue to demand the product. “There’s a demand for fishbowls, but the reality is what we’re giving kids is the chance to see the goldfish slowly die,” Lambeaux says. (Read more fish stories.)