Format of charity dead eel battle changed

July 30, 2006 at 7:15 PM

WINCHESTER, England, July 30 (UPI) -- A charitable event in the English town of Lyme Regis known as "conger cuddling" has been altered after someone objected to its use of dead eels as weapons.

For 40 years the citizens of the West Dorset town had gathered to enjoy their unique competition, in which contestants try to knock each other down with dead conger eels -- at least until one citizen spoke out against the "inappropriate" practice, the BBC said.

Based on an anonymous e-mail complaint, the Royal National Lifeboat Institute has declared the traditional practice be changed to something more humane.

As of last Friday, the event -- part of the town's charitable Lifeboat Week -- began the immediately unpopular practice of using mooring buoys instead of the eels.

"It was not quite the same," said Andrew Kaye of the RNLI. "We are thinking of having a plastic eel made."

The event, which attracts nearly 3,000 people a year, raises funds for new lifeboats in the area, said the BBC.

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