In recognition of her quick thinking in saving the life of an abandoned goldfish, Amy Keates from Penzance has received a Hero to Animals Award from PETA.

The goldfish – still trapped inside a plastic bag after being won as a fairground prize – had been thrown into the sea by a thoughtless teenager. Once alerted to the fish’s plight, Amy immediately jumped into action and swam out to sea to rescue the little animal.

“Fish feel fear and pain, just as dogs and cats do, and they deserve as much consideration of their well-being,” says PETA Director Elisa Allen. “We hope Amy Keates’ kind actions will serve as an inspiration to others to respect all animals, no matter how small.”

PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way” – notes that goldfish are intelligent and social animals who communicate, cooperate, can recognise different humans, and even use tools. They’re often bred in giant tubs, kept in conditions that are a far cry from their natural habitat, and condemned to live in small bowls that don’t offer enough space or oxygen.

Keates will receive a framed certificate and a letter of appreciation from PETA. The group will also contact the fairground organisers to urge them to implement a policy against giving live animals as prizes.