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Page last updated at 13:19 GMT, Wednesday, 20 May 2009 14:19 UK

Danish reporter 'cruel to fish'

Guppies - file image
Guppies are popular aquarium fish

A Danish television journalist has been convicted of animal cruelty for killing 12 fish in an aquarium with anti-dandruff shampoo.

Lisbeth Koelster, a presenter on Danish TV channel DR1, said she poured a diluted mixture into the fish tank for a consumer affairs show in 2004.

The judge said she had violated the animal protection law.

But he decided not to hand down a sentence because of the time that had passed since the complaint was filed.

Lisbeth Koelster said she had wanted to demonstrate the toxicity of chemicals used in some hair products by pouring the diluted shampoo into the aquarium with 13 guppy fish.

After three days, all but one of the fish were dead.

Unnecessary suffering

A veterinarian who watched the programme pressed charges.

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
Lisbeth Koelster's lawyer Tyge Trier

Causing unnecessary suffering to animals is an offence under Danish law.

Judge Thomas Lohse, of Glostrup City Court, said Ms Koelster had "deliberately committed an act of cruelty to animals".

He said the TV journalist knew the fish would die because the experiment was based on a similar laboratory test.

However, the court did not fine her because her rights to a speedy trial had been violated.

Her lawyer Tyge Trier 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."



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