Danish journalist guilty of killing fish with shampoo

20th May 2009, Comments 0 comments

The journalist killed 12 guppy fish when she poured shampoo into an aquarium for a report.

Copenhagen – A Danish television journalist was found guilty Tuesday of killing 12 guppy fish and violating animal protection laws by pouring shampoo into an aquarium for a report, the Glostrup court said.

Lisbeth Koelster, a television presenter on the Danish public channel DR1, said she poured a "very diluted" amount of shampoo into a fish tank on a 2004 episode of the consumer affairs show she fronted to demonstrate the level of toxic material in a brand of anti-dandruff shampoo.

After three days, all but one of the fish were dead, the court said in its ruling.

A veterinary practitioner who saw the show pressed charges for causing unnecessary suffering to animals, an offence under Danish law.

Judge Thomas Lohse said Koelster had "deliberately committed an act of cruelty to animals" and violated animal protection laws. He acquitted her however of violating laws on experimenting on animals.

But the judge said he had decided not to hand down any sentence since an unreasonable amount of time, "four-and-a-half years," had passed between the date the complaint was filed and the trial.

Koelster had pleaded not guilty and her lawyer Tyge Trier had prior to the trial told AFP he expected his client to be acquitted.

"The allegations are this experiment caused the fish's fear and suffering...but expert witnesses told the court on 12 May that this was not the case," he said.

"Fish are killed by suffocation in industrial fisheries and we throw live lobsters into boiling water, but we don't press charges against fishermen or restaurant owners," Trier added.

AFP / Expatica

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