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Man fined for swallowing goldfish
3:21am Wednesday 23rd July 2014 in © Press Association 2014
Two men will appear in court accused of eating two goldfish alive, after being charged under the Animal Welfare Act
A man who downed two goldfish as part of a Neknomination dare before regurgitating them has been fined by magistrates.
Jack Blowers was sober when he went to a local shop to buy the fish, Lowestoft Magistrates' Court in Suffolk heard.
The 20-year-old was filmed setting up a pint-sized aquarium, complete with gravel and fish food, in a glass before drinking it in one go.
The clip, which was uploaded to Facebook, goes on to show him vomiting up the contents of the glass into a toilet. He then rescued the fish and took them to his grandmother's house, where he put them in her fish bowl.
They survived and are still alive today, prosecutor Kevin Batch said.
However, Mr Batch said the RSPCA prosecution was in the public interest because of the level of "pre-meditation" involved.
Blowers' lawyer said he did not realise what he did was illegal.
Richard Mann, mitigating, said: "He knew that we all eat fish, we boil lobsters alive and things like that.
"Looking into the law, if he had done this with an octopus or something without vertebrae , this would not have been an illegal act."
Blowers, of Cranfield Close, Lowestoft, pleaded guilty to failing to protect the fish from suffering and failing to meeting their needs on February 8 this year.
Mr Batch said: "This case involves the current craze of Neknominate.
"The problem with this craze is that more often or not the next nomination has to be more extreme than the previous nomination.
"In this case the nomination was clearly to drink two goldfish."
A vet's report presented to the magistrates confirmed that the fish would have suffered.
Blowers' friend, Joseph Meikle, 20, also from Lowestoft, filmed the stunt and has since accepted a caution.
Chair of the bench Philip Key fined Blowers £200 and ordered him to pay legal costs of £600. He also disqualified him from keeping animals for 12 months.
He told him: "You bought two goldfish with the sole intention of drinking them a putting them on social media.
"If you do become known for this in future, you've only got yourself to blame.
"We believe this was cruel, reckless and stupid."
Outside court, Blowers said he had not given the fish names.
He added: "I will see them again if I'm round my Nan's house.
"It was a stupid prank which has cost me a lot of money. I won't do it again but my family are glad I didn't do it with alcohol."
Neknomination is a viral craze which involves friends encouraging one another to drink something, often alcohol, before passing on the dare to three others.
In June, Robert Atkinson, 20, was filmed buying a goldfish and taking it to a fast food outlet in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, before dropping it into a pint of beer and downing it.
He was banned from keeping animals and fined £723 after admitting inflicting unnecessary harm to a protected animal.
Two months earlier, Gavin Hope, 22, from Gateshead, was fined £300 after swallowing a live goldfish in a Neknomination challenge.