Reacting to reports of the latest craze among local pub-crawlers — the "racing" of live goldfish along shallow gutters installed on the tops of bistro bars by propelling them along with squirt-gun blasts — the Humane Society of Utah Thursday denounced the practice.

Pointing out that goldfish are sentient vertebrates whose small size and fragile bone structure render them highly vulnerable to the potentially fatal trauma delivered by repeated assaults from pressurized water jets, society executive director Gene Baierschmidt said, "From our point of view, this has got to be the ultimate 'girlie man' game — getting the better of those ferocious goldfish has really got to be proof that you're some kind of wily, super-tough guy, right?"

Baierschmidt acknowledges that the Humane Society has no legal power to halt the fish races "because there is unfortunately no law against acting like a dimwit," but hopes that the public will eventually think of more challenging ways to fill an evening with entertainment. The pastime usually ends in the death of the fish.