Claim: Living turtles and fish are packaged in plastic bags and sold as souvenir keyrings in China.
Example: [Collected via e-mail, February 2012]
This is too cruel and unacceptable!!! God knows how many little lives were slowly suffocated to silent death; their fate sealed in a bag!!!
Has the commercial world no more other ideas to make money!!!
Please help "Share" this. Hopefully some media or government will pick up this news and step in to stop this animal cruelty! Perhaps find the real victim and put an end to such uncivilized act.
Origins: February 2012 saw the circulation of this item decrying the encasement of live turtles, fish, and salamanders in plastic bags of colored water and sold as souvenir keyrings in China, exhorting readers to urge the media to "pick up this news" and help put a stop to a form of animal cruelty. Although it's difficult to gauge how widespread or pervasive this practice might be in China, a few western news articles have made mention of it in recent years. The UK's Sun tabloid, for example, carried a brief item about goldfish key fobs being sold as souvenirs during the
The fish, sold in tiny sealed plastic bags which bear the Beijing Games mascot, have just hours to live before running out of air.
Animal rights campaigners have reacted with fury — but in China the gruesome gimmicks are selling fast.
The keyrings are being sold mainly to children in Qingdao, the city hosting the sailing events.
Filled with coloured water, each seven centimetre-long key ring, sold at Sihuiv subway station, encapsulated either one Brazil turtle or two small kingfish. The vendors claim the water in the rings have nutrients and so the fish can live for months.
Some clients buying the key rings claim it brings them good luck, while a few others buy to free the animals.
The key rings are attached to a bag filled with coloured water containing either a live Brazil turtle or two small fish.
Online petitions calling for the key rings to be banned have been launched - but the gimmicks are completely legal due to China's lack of animal cruelty laws.
Qin Xiaona, director of the NGO Capital Animal Welfare Association, described the trinkets as "immoral and pure animal abuse" - but said they were legal.
"China only has a Wild Animal Protection Law," Qin told The Global Times. "If the animals are not wild animals they fall outside the law's scope."
One woman spoken to by the paper said she planned to free the creature, while a man in his 30s was going to hang the key ring, containing a turtle, on the wall in his office.
"It looks nice and brings good luck," he said.
Vendors are selling key rings filled with small turtles and fish that are still alive.
That has outraged PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
"They are a form of extreme cruelty," said PETA's Lyndsey Wright.
"These key chains provide no way to feed the animals and no way for them to breathe. Fish and turtles, they both need oxygen to breathe. No matter what these vendors are telling people about the water, these animals are bound to die in a matter of days, if not hours, after people take them home."
The turtles, Wright said, are "red sliders," a shy and sensitive breed.
"Being sealed in a tiny plastic bag full of water and jostled around would be terrifying for any animal, but especially for one of these sensitive turtles if they turn out to be red sliders."
The key chains are really nothing new, Wright said.
"Back in 2008, they were selling Olympic key chains with goldfish inside of them. Sadly, this practice is entirely legal in China because there are virtually no animal protection laws there at all."
Wright hopes the trend ends in China and doesn't spread to the United States.
Harper, Paul. "Live Animal Key Rings Appall Activists." The New Zealand Herald. 8 April 2011. Emirates 24|7. "Crazy World: Live Animals in Keychains." 11 April 2011. McClay, Bob. "PETA Outraged at China's Live Key Chains." KTAR-AM (Phoenix). 6 April 2011. The Sun. "The Sick Way to Get Games Gold." 30 May 2008.