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Like Catching Fish in a Barrel?

By Benjy Lipsman in Miscellaneous on Aug 11, 2004 2:19PM

Responding to state health department concerns, Glenview Park District officials have made some changes to their annual Goldfish Day. Rather than dumping the thousands of fish into the public swimming pools, this year kids will be invited to catch goldfish in 100-gallon tubs of fresh water. The event in its previous format -- children charging a pool of fish in the hopes of catching some -- had been decades-old tradition in the North Shore suburb.

The changes are partly the result of 12-year-old Kevin Pratt, who opposed the event because "hundreds of fish die on Goldfish Day and that the event poses a safety hazard." His protests drew the attention of state Health Department officials and PETA.

In expressing her groups opposition to the event, PETA's spokesperson Amy Rhodes made a rather puzzling statement, "We wouldn't find it acceptable to throw kittens or puppies into a pool. It is not more acceptable to throw fish into a pool." Um... don't fish normally live in water?!? Kittens and puppies don't!

Meanwhile, state officials expressed concern over the event because health-related issues. "We don't wait until people get sick," said Illinois Department of Public Health spokesman Tom Schafer. "Who knows what would happen as far as people getting into a pool with goldfish?" Yet again, Chicagoist doesn't quite see the issue -- ever hear of swimming in a lake? Does Mr. Schafer not realize that there are fish in Lake Michican, and yet people swim in it all the time?

While changing the event, Glenview officials mades it pretty clear where the dissapointed kids should direct their disappointed faces. "We are frankly very comfortable with the event," Bob Quill, Glenview Park District superintendent of leisure services said. "We don't think it is an issue. We have never experienced a problem. The state had a different view of it."