Arts: The goldfish in a suitcase who swam into trouble

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The Independent Culture
It's a step up from a plastic bag and more portable than a pond but the suitcase aquarium and its inhabitant Fred the fish are causing almost as many ripples as Damien Hirst's sheep.

The main attraction at an exhibition of graduate art, Fred happily lazed about in his tailor-made home at Camden Arts Centre in London yesterday, oblivious to the debate raging around him.

The animal rights group Peta (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) believes Fred has a raw deal. "Forcing a fish to exist in a small tank, under bright lights, without other fish for company, is plainly cruel," Toni Vernelli, a spokeswoman, said. Bill Swann, the RSPCA's assistant chief veterinary officer, said goldfish owners should mimic a fish's environment.

However Fred's owner, James Chinneck, 22, said: "I can't understand what all the fuss is about. I'm trying to make an artistic statement and Fred couldn't be happier."

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