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  1. #1

    Default Is It Legal to Eat the Fish in Your Aquarium

    My question involves criminal law for the state of: Georgia

    I read an article about how certain types of fish that are commonly kept in aquariums in the US are actually eaten in many other countries, and it was actually saying that some of these types of fish are actually pretty good. This made me wonder if there would be any laws against preparing and filleting fish from your aquarium that you wanted to get rid of anyways. It's probably not something that I would do, but I was wondering if goldfish/other aquarium fish would be considered pets and illegal to eat because of that status. Because I know certain states have laws against eating animals "traditionally kept as pets", which I suppose could be said of goldfish and other aquarium fish.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2013

    Default Re: Is It Legal to Eat the Fish in Your Aquarium

    Who is going to know if you kill and fillet a gourami or a goldfish or any other fish in your aquarium? Go for it. Not much of a meal though.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2013

    Default Re: Is It Legal to Eat the Fish in Your Aquarium

    Well, you'd better be careful how you kill it as there are some ridiculous federal laws on the books that could get you prosecuted.

    18 USC 229 is written

    to prevent terrorists from using chemical weapons to cause the massive infliction of death or physical injury on huge numbers of innocent persons. But the way it is actually written, it forbids anyone to use or merely “possess” any “chemical weapon, which is defined to include “any chemical which through its chemical action on life processes can cause death, temporary incapacitation or permanent harm to persons or animals,” unless it is used for certain—very narrowly defined—purposes permitted under the law. The way this statute is written, as the Supreme Court noted with frustration a couple years ago in Bond v. United States, it is a felony under federal law if a parent, “exasperated by the children’s repeated failure to clean the goldfish tank, . . . considers poisoning the fish with a few drops of vinegar.” And of course that is only half the problem, because this statute forbids both the use and the mere possession of such a chemical weapon, so you would be guilty of a violation just by picking up the vinegar at the grocery store for that purpose, even if federal agents caught and arrested you before you poisoned the tank.
    You Have the Right to Remain Innocent
    Professor James Duane.

    The same Professor James Duane whose famous videos (Don't Talk to the Police and You Have the Right to Remain Innocent) can be viewed on youtube.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2018

    Default Re: Is It Legal to Eat the Fish in Your Aquarium

    Jack, you need to reread the Bond case, it does not say it is a federal crime to poison fish in a tank with vinegar, it was a statement made to show what Congress meant by the statute, not some wild outer space interpretation of what a chemical weapon is and how it applies to terrorism.

    Just reading your post I could tell that was not true.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2006

    Default Re: Is It Legal to Eat the Fish in Your Aquarium

    At the risk of invoking her, I have to acknowledge that when I saw the title of this post, I thought that lollipops/whathappensafter was back. It sounded like the ridiculous sort of question she would ask.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2006

    Default Re: Is It Legal to Eat the Fish in Your Aquarium

    I believe if you read the opinion of the court you will see poisoning fish with vinegar or possession of vinegar for the purpose of killing a fish doesn’t fall under the usc cited

    professor Duane left off a very important part of the statement regarding the vinegar and the fish

    The Government would have us brush aside the ordinary meaning and adopt a reading of section 229 that would sweep in everything from the detergent under the kitchen sink to the stain remover in the laundry room. Yet no one would ordinarily describe those substances as “chemical weapons.” The Government responds that because Bond used “specialized, highly toxic” (though legal) chemicals, “this case presents no occasion to address whether Congress intended [section 229] to apply to common household substances.” Brief for United States 13, n. 3. That the statute
    would apply so broadly, however, is the inescapable conclusion of the Government’s position: Any parent would be guilty of a serious federal offense—possession of a chemical weapon—when, exasperated by the children’s repeated failure to clean the goldfish tank, he considers poisoning the fish with a few drops of vinegar. We are reluctant to ignore the ordinary meaning of “chemical weapon” when doing so would transform a statute passed to implement the international Convention on Chemical Weapons into one that also makes it a federal offense to poison goldfish. That would not be a “realistic assessment[ ] of congressional intent.” Post, at 6 (Scalia, J., concurring in judgment).

    and from scalia’s statement

    C. The Statute as Judicially Amended
    I suspect the Act will not survive today’s gruesome surgery. A criminal statute must clearly define the conduct it proscribes. If it does not “ ‘give a person of ordi-nary intelligence fair notice’ ” of its scope, United Statesv. Batchelder, 442 U. S. 114, 123 (1979) , it denies due process.
    The new 229(a)(1) fails that test. Henceforward, a person “shall be fined . . . , imprisoned for any term of years, or both,” 229A(a)(1)—or, if he kills someone, “shall be punished by death or imprisoned for life,” 229A(a)(2)—whenever he “develop[s], produce[s], otherwise acquire[s], transfer[s] directly or indirectly, receive[s], stockpile[s], retain[s], own[s], possess[es], or use[s], or threaten[s] to use,” 229(a)(1), any chemical “of the sort that an ordinary person would associate with instruments of chemical warfare,” ante, at15 (emphasis added). Whether that test is satisfied, the Court unhelpfully (and also illogically) explains, depends not only on the “particular chemicals that the defendant used” but also on “the circumstances in which she used them.” Ibid. The “detergent under the kitchen sink” and “the stain remover in the laundry room” are apparently out, ante, at 16—but what if they are deployed to poison a neighborhood water fountain? Poisoning a goldfish tank is also apparently out, ante, at 17, but what if the fish belongs to a Congressman or Governor and the act is meant as a menacing message, a small-time equivalent of leaving a severed horse head in the bed? See ibid. (using the “concerns” driving the Convention—“acts of war, assassination, and terrorism”—as guideposts of statutory meaning). Moreover, the Court’s illogical embellishment seems to apply only to the “use” of a chemical, ante, at 15, but “use” is only 1 of 11 kinds of activity that the statute prohibits. What, one wonders, makes something a “chemical weapon” when it is merely “stockpile[d]” or “possess[ed]?” To these questions and countless others, one guess is as bad as another.
    one should read the entire opinion and understand the court specifically determined the law was not written to apply to killing your fish with vinegar.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    NW of KSTL

    Default Re: Is It Legal to Eat the Fish in Your Aquarium

    I would advise to NOT eat/swallow your goldfish live! Even if on a dare. While intoxicated.

    It won't stay down.

    Not that I did that mind you. Read about it in a magazine. I think.

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