Mistreated Miniatures

Mistreated Miniatures

By Lucy Songi

Live animals in airtight bags being sold as key chains are a popular creation that has been sold in many parts of China for years.

They are sold normally for the 10 Yuan, the equivalent of less than one pound, for which the miniature turtles, salamanders, and fish are put in a seven centimetres worth of coloured water and given full reign of their plastic prison.

That is until they die if kept sealed, about a day or two later, due to a lack of oxygen and basic nutrients.

Petitions for banning this practice have once again started to return through the likes of ‘Il n’y a Pas de Mauvais chiens, Seulement de Mauvais Maîtres !!!!’ translated as ‘There are no bad dogs, only bad owners!’ a Facebook group that protests for animal rights.

China is known to have a lack of welfare legislation for the protection of animals, making treatment such as this legal.

There is some animal rights legislation in China; the Wild Animal Protection Act is in effect.

However, even with this legislation in place it is still legal and common practice for dog control officers to kill unaccompanied dogs on sight, and for these key-chains to be sold.

Lindsay Wright, manager of PETA’s campaigns department, said, ‘They are a form of extreme cruelty.

‘Being sealed in a tiny plastic bag full of water and jostled around would be terrifying for any animal.’

In a CNN interview with a vendor of these animals, the vendor explained that crystals of oxygen and nutrients were also in the bag so that the animal could last for some days.

After which, the vendor goes on, they can be taken out and kept as pets.

This is very alarming as the amphibians that are being sold are not kept to any standard, and there is no tracking of their origin, like any UK domestic pet being sold in stores.

David Neale, animal welfare director of Animals Asia, explains, ‘Individuals should also be aware of the potential human health risks associated with being in close contact with animals such as turtles.

‘Turtles frequently carry salmonella bacteria that can cause serious illness.’

The fight to prevent the sale of these live animal key-chains is on-going for many activists, but as yet there is still no clear sign that it is going to stop.

But for so many people being seemingly against this ‘uncivilised act’ it leaves wonder as to who is actually buying these creatures?

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