According to a news report on Chinese media, the hottest new fad in China involves selling a live fish, or a Brazilian turtle or a young giant salamander sealed up in airtight plastic bags as key rings. Each packet is about 7 centimeters in length and filled with colored water along with the imprisoned animal. The street vendors claim the water is nutrient rich, but they are not. Without oxygen and food the animals get to live for only a few days, if they are lucky. The most depressing part is that the whole thing is legal.
Animal cruelty laws are almost non-existent in China. It was only just recently that the country banned animal in circuses where they are made to perform unimaginable tricks. Animal meat are also exotic entrees at zoo restaurants.
The country has a Wild Animal Protection Law which applies only to wild animals. Fishes and reptiles do not fall under this category and hence the law cannot protect them. Animal rights activists are voicing protests against the sale of these keyrings but without a law to back them there is little that can be done.
Two gold fish sealed in plastic pouches and sold as keychains are displayed at a roadside stall in Beijing, China on April 12. Each keychain is sold for 10 yuan (USD $1.50).
Source: Time, Photos: Associated Press