Live animals sold as trinkets in China

What is it with China and animal rights? China spends incredible amounts of money every year in an effort to reintroduce pandas to the wild through highly developed breeding centres, yet at the same time millions of cats and dogs are slaughtered whilst still alive just for their skins. The country is moving steadily into superpower status, yet its policies on animal rights could not be more backwards. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a piece of positive news come out of China in relation to its animal rights record, and this is the nation that invented tofu. Sort it out!

So, what’s China’s latest feat of stupidity in terms of animal rights? Well, you may remember as a kid going to fairgrounds and playing all those typical fairground games, and if you were lucky winning a prize which may have been a goldfish in a little plastic bag. The idea of this was to take it home and have a calming aquatic buddy who you could feed and care for until he/she reached a ripe old age, passed away, and was chucked down the toilet by a parent. I seriously question how many goldfish actually reach it home, let alone the ripe old age with this little practice of handing them out alongside generic teddy bears and giant lollies, and therefore the whole idea has always seemed a little weird to me.

If you’ve never been lucky enough to win at any of those games though, there is now another option. Take a quick flight over to China and you’ll be able to pick up a variety of different pets who have been sealed into airtight plastic sacks. Different fish and even small turtles are available to purchase on street corners and at subway stops all over China now, and they are said to live for several months as the bag also contains some nutrient-packed water (although the fact that most of these animals need to breathe in order to survive seems to have been overlooked a little, what with the airtight bags and all… although I’m sure the ever caring, empathetic and ethically motivated street vendors are working on this little hitch as I type this). Not only this, but they’re being marketed as keyrings, so you’ll be able to carry your little buddy around everywhere on your keys. Say hello when you open front door or your car to the little fella, and show them off to your family and friends (make sure you explain that the water is packed with nutrients though – wouldn’t want people thinking it was just an oversized cruel keyring).

Some of you may remember the ridiculous Beijing Olympics souvenir of a goldfish in a similarly airtight plastic sack, but sadly I really thought we’d seen the back of this disgusting issue. But now it’s reared its ugly head again. The worst thing is I don’t know of anything being done to stop it – it is completely legal under Chinese law. Which is why I’m posting this really – send this on to anyone and tell people you know (I’m not talking about just vegans and vegetarians – I’m sure anyone would find this appalling). Let’s get the word out that this is happening, that it’s a growing trend and it is popular, and with enough support let’s hope that something can be done to stop it, or that people will simply come to their senses and realise that buying these cruel trinkets is wrong and the market for them will die rather than the animals themselves.

For more information please check out treehugger.com’s article on the trade.

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