The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) has condemned a new trend involving fish being eaten as part of a drinking game.
There has been a spike of calls to the charity in the last week, it said, all describing videos of people drinking a shot of alcohol with a fish inside.
The incidents appear to be part of new craze called “neknomination“, involving people filming themselves “necking” alcohol, then nominating a friend to do the same – egging each other on to do more extreme and outlandish feats each time.
RSPCA wildlife scientist Nicola White said: “We are extremely concerned about this shocking new trend. We have had quite a few similar cases reported to us in a very short space of time – but this could be just the tip of the iceberg as there’s probably many more we have not been told about.
“Eating a live animal and posting a film of it on the internet is not some light-hearted joke – it is unacceptable. It sends out a clear message that animal cruelty is ok as long as it is in the guise of entertainment.
“We urge people not to take part in this horrible craze and to report to us anyone who is taking part.”
There have been at least 14 calls to the RSPCA about “neknomination” footage involving swallowing live fish in the last week, it said.
Eating live fish is an offence under the Animal Welfare Act, and the RSPCA are investigating several of the cases that have been referred to it. Because of this, it is unable to go into detail of individual cases until more is known, said the charity.