OPINION: Trendy Souvenir Keychains Endanger Animals

Unknown woman in China holds up turtles encased in a keychain, a trend that has recently become popular with younger people in China.

Unknown woman in China holds up turtles encased in a keychain, a trend that has recently become popular with younger people in China.

Kayla Turpin, Reporter

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Souvenir trends in China have been reaching an all new level of craziness in these past couple years. Since 2011, vendors are taking small animals such as turtles, fish, frogs, and salamanders, and trapping them in little plastic bubbles with brightly colored water and attached to a keychain. The space is barely enough room for them to move, and once the oxygen in the keychain wears out after a couple of days, the animals die. Best case scenario, they become pets to owners that aren’t prepared to care for them the way they should be.

Animal activists have denounced that these souvenirs classify as animal cruelty. However, they haven’t been able to pass laws in China.

David Neale, animal welfare director of Animals Asia, told CNN, “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. 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.”

These keychains are popular among young people, who view them as popular fashion statements. However, if a fashion statement puts others at risk, including animals, then it’s a problem. This isn’t the only instance where animals are being hard to make a statement in society either.

In South America, beetles are being decorated and covered in gems, and then being pinned on people as brooches. It was also seen that a watch company made a watch filled with live ants trapped inside. Fortunately, this watch was called out as inhumane from the start, and the watch company recalled these disgusting watches.

Animals deserve the respect and care of people, no matter how small they are. They are not fashion accessories, and their lives should not be seen as cheap and dispensable.

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