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article imageLive animals sold in key rings in China, animal groups outraged

By Michael Krebs     Apr 15, 2011 in World
Drawing protests from numerous animal rights organizations, street merchants in China are selling live animals sealed in clear plastic bags as ornamental key rings.
Street merchants in China are offering live animals trapped in small sealed plastic bags as key rings. The animals, mostly fish and small amphibians, move about in colored and oxygenated water and can live for a matter of days, according to a CNN report on Friday.
Among the more popular of the live animal trinkets: small soft-shelled turtles that as adults are a popular dish in China. The key rings sell for roughly $1.50 each.
"Lack of food and diminishing oxygen concentrations within both the water and the small amount of air in these plastic pouches will cause the animals to die in a relatively short period of time after the pouches are sealed," 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."
China does not have any guiding legislation on the humane treatment of animals, making the live animal key rings a legal enterprise.
However, regardless of Chinese law, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, is outraged by the key ring sales.
"They are a form of extreme cruelty," PETA's Lyndsey Wright told KTAR. "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."
But without a meaningful protective law, the practice is likely to continue.
"China only has a Wild Animal Protection Law," Qin Xiaona, director of the NGO Capital Animal Welfare Association said, according to The New Zealand Herald. "If the animals are not wild animals they fall outside the law's scope."
More about China, Animals, Animal cruelty, Animal abuse, Turtles
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