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Live Animals Are Being Trapped And Sold As Keychains In China

By KK Angus, 8 March 2018

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Animals are abused and exploited for man's benefit all over the world. From dolphin hunting to killing animals for fur, the brutal practices are still doing the round even after some restrictions have been placed upon them. Another animal torture that is very prevalent in China is trapping water animals or amphibians like turtles or fish in a small water-filled plastic bag, to be sold as keychains. The practice is outrageous for more reasons than one, and us unacceptable as it is being done on a bulk basis. People buying the keychain souvenirs with animals in them don't even value them later in and maybe just discard them. But this is actually a thriving industry. So, here's what you really need to know about the horrible animal assault practice. 

animal keychains

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1They are all living

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Taking living animals and keeping them in an aquarium or a tank is a common practice and an acceptable one as they are sustained with food and proper habitat. These animals in China are kept in a very small sealed plastic bag, with hardly any space to move and of course no food. And they stay alive for just a couple of days as the oxygen inside the bag runs out.

living animals in keychains

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2Exploitation or business?

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Thousands of roadside stalls across China sell the souvenirs, and while it has acquired a lot of attention over the years, hardly anything is being done to stop it. Selling trapped living animals as cheap jewelry is abominable for more reasons than one, but for many people, it is pure business.

shops in china

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3Its commonplace

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Asia, and especially China has very loose laws on animal protection unless it is an exotic or endangered species. The cases of animal cruelty have been going on for ages and since there are no absolute laws, nothing can be done about it.

China has very loose laws on animal protection

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4What happens

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What happens to these animals is that they are captured in a small airtight plastic space in colorful oxygenated water. They have no space to move and no opening from which they can receive food. Vendors have admitted that the animals should be released as soon as the air runs out. But of course, that doesn't happen as they are being collected as souvenirs. Since they can only stay in one place they eventually die without food or any movement.

animal keychains in china

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5It's a tourism gimmick

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Live animals entrapped in jewelry is, of course, a hearjewelryrism propaganda and people who are buying it are just as responsible as people who are selling it. But this is an exotic commodity which is not available in any other country, so it's a terrible novelty.

animals entrapped in jewelry

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6It is insanely cheap

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The keychains with the live animals sell for just a dollar to $2 each. Unsurprisingly, they are packaged and sold in bulk. The most brutal part about this live commodity is that these animals are not bought as pets but as jewelry or objects. The people buying them have no intention of keeping them alive. The animals probably won't even last till the end of their trip and people buying them don't really care.

keychains with the live animals

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7Other countries

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Mexico too has a cruel tradition of encasing beetles and large insects to make brooches out of them. But it is not as widespread as China's problem and certainly on the mend.

 cruel tradition of encasing beetles

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8The outrage

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This animal brutality has caught the attention of activists and animal welfare workers in Asia. Most of them have vocally protested against China's practice of selling live animals as jewellery but cannot do anything substantial as there are no laws in place. The activists have requested the government to not trivialize the matter and do something urgently.

live turtle keyring

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9Global coverage

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CNN widely covered the issue in 2011 which brought the issue to global attention. Several news channels and websites around the world have done stories on these helpless animals but in vain as the live animal jewelry business is still pretty much on.

live animal jewelry business

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10What can be done

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Of course, lawmakers need to get together and come up with stricter laws against animal cruelty in China. That could take up to months. To get the attention of mainstream activists and tourists, some prominent names can be asked to promote the cause of boycotting these keychain and jewelry items with animals trapped inside them. Several makes from Hollywood or the music industry are animal activists and can be asked to talk about the problem. For instance, last year Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams went to Japan on vacation and protested against the practice of dolphin hunting and raised quite a lot of awareness. She asked people to stop buying a ticket for marine shows, for which dolphins are captured and killed.

no dolphin slaughter protest

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