Publican's pet fish start chain reaction

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THE RSPCA has rejected a complaint of cruelty against a landlord who installed a glass cistern containing four goldfish in the lavatory of his pub in Oxfordshire.

'It makes their life more interesting - at least they've got something to look at,' said Jason Hunt, 30, landlord of the Crazy Bear and Ragged Staff at Stadhampton.

'It must be the cleanest fish tank in Britain.'

He admitted, however, that some customers had taken exception to the idea and had told him they regarded it as cruel. 'One woman even complained to the RSPCA, but they had a look and said it wasn't cruel,' Mr Hunt said. 'I'm trying to get some 'RSPCA Approved' stickers to put on the tanks.

'The fish have plenty of water to live in, even when the water level goes down to about a third full.'

'When I was 14 I saw the same thing at an underground toilet in Paddington. I was fascinated. The attendant had been there 30 years and the tank was his pride and joy.'

Terence Bate, the RSPCA's chief veterinary officer, said: 'While this sort of thing may not be sufficiently cruel for us to seek prosecution under the 1911 Protection of Animals Act, it does not mean we approve of animals being used as gimmicks.'