In this day in age, you really DO have to be careful about what you do to children with parents around. Even though I would have said something and took the cup away, if the parents would have jumped in angrily, I would have backed off regardless how bad I feel about the fish.
Once in a pet store, they have a open pen with bunnies in it, and this child kept yanking on the rabbits ears and laughing cruelly about it, enough that the rabbit would squeal and as a person who has owned several rabbits, takes a lot to make a rabbit make such a sound. The parents were there and I intervened and told the child, of course nicely, that that wasn't very nice to the poor bunny and tried to gently remove his hand from yanking at the rabbits ears as it squirmed. The parents threw a HUGE fit, and complained to the manager that I "slapped" there child's hands away and yelled at him. Luckily a store employee was watching and vouched for me, but the fact of the matter is, you seriously have to be careful about intervening. Parents these day can be absolutely awful, worse then the children.
And as a vegetarian, even I know the difference between the life of a salmon and the life of a Betta. Totally different.
And children or not children, people who truly have morals, raised or not raised to have them, just don't do things like that. My neice is FOUR with ADHD, my sister has certainly never told her to be kind to animals and this is a child who brutalizes her toys, and yet when she was here for christmas last year and I was changing my fishes water, she got mad when I was taking him upstairs in his little cup because she said I was shaking him too much and thought I would make him sicky. So I think if a four year old knows to be nice to a fish, a twelve year old certainly should know better whether there parents taught them to be nice to animals or not.
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