I doubt that the ancient Romans would have had much problem with the fraternity ritual of swallowing live goldfish. While the new law in Rome doesn't mention swallowing per se., they have banned the use of goldfish bowls. Has anyone done a study of fish lifespans, which I imagine would be the only measurable quantity impacted by cruelty?
Then again, as the old saw goes, don't goldfish have such short memories that each lap is a new and exciting experience? Either way, it would sure beat getting eaten.