Key chains and trinkets are popular souvenir purchases for tourists looking to bring a little piece of their trip back home, but an abusive trend in China has animal rights groups up in arms. Street vendors are selling live animals trapped in the confines of tiny plastic pouches. Activists have pleaded to put an end to this unnaturally cruel accessory, but little has been done to eradicate the souvenir from commercial streets.
The trend was first highlighted by CNN back in 2011 after a reporter discovered the callous trinkets being sold on the streets of China. Small amphibians like salamanders and turtles are kept in tiny bags that give them little room to move around. The bags are filled with colored, oxygenated water which allows the animals to survive for a limited amount of days.
One of the vendors selling these live animal keychains outside of a subway station in Beijing told CNN that the animals will suffocate if they are not freed from the bag once the air runs out. This isn’t only problematic due to the likeliness of negligence, but also due to the fact that the owners are usually unprepared to care for the animals after they’ve been liberated.
Animal rights activists have been working to put an end to these abusive souvenirs and find that the accessories only put emphasis on the lack of animal protection laws in China. David Neale, animal welfare director of Animals Asia, told CNN, “If a national animal protection law was enacted in China, such acts of cruelty could be prevented, and those who persist in causing harm and suffering to animals within their care could be prosecuted.”
Unfortunately, the use of live animals as jewelry isn’t just limited to China, and despite the outrage these trinkets have sparked, the trend has yet to die. Neale also idealized the notion that these souvenirs aren’t just hazardous to the animals, but to the buyers as well. Being in close contact with amphibians that frequently carry salmonella bacteria can cause serious illness.
If you found this story interesting, make sure to SHARE this post with all of your friends on Facebook. Click ‘NEXT POST’ for more stories like this!