Live Animals Trapped In Plastic Bags Sold as Key Chains in Horrifying Chinese Souvenir Scheme

by , 06/18/13
filed under: Animals, Environment, News

live animal key chains, animal rights, animal abuse, China, Beijing, souvenirs

If your heart has ever ached looking at pictures of animals pent up in tiny pet store cages or pens at the zoo, prepare to be outraged. CNN and other internet sources have uncovered a souvenir scheme in China that seems like a sick joke, but isn’t. Live animals—turtles, fish, lizards and other amphibiansare being trapped in tiny plastic bags and sold as decorative key chains. Vendors claim that the bag contains crystallized oxygen and nutrients designed to keep the animals alive, but in reality, most die within a day or less due to oxygen deprivation. What’s even more shocking is that thanks to China’s lax animal protection laws, most customers are encouraged to microwave and then eat the animals upon their demise.

YouTube Preview Image

According to sources like, the shocking live-animal key chains are most often sold out of coolers near the entrances of subways. Many contain young Chinese soft-shell turtles—the adults are a popular dish in Chinese cooking. Even though local laws maintain that these horrifying key chains are completely legal, animal rights advocates are outraged.

“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.

Neale also implied that attempting to keep the animals as pets could put those who buy the key chains at risk (though anyone crazy enough to buy one of these disgusting trinkets probably deserves it).

“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,” he said.

A petition to stop the sale of these live-animal keychains is already underway on, and has gathered over 143,000 signatures. If you care about the rights of innocent animals, please sign.



Related Posts


or your inhabitat account below


  1. nelsonuy495 May 7, 2015 at 2:30 am

    they come up to all kinds of businesses just to survive or is it just wealth greediness for the ultimate owner of this business.

  2. Max Rodgers September 15, 2014 at 5:47 am

    If I ever go to China I’m gonna buy a whole.mess of these and then open the pouches and liberate these poor animals!!!

  3. veilestel August 8, 2014 at 5:09 am

  4. Mads Holvik August 6, 2014 at 11:36 am

    This is pure evil in my opinion.

  5. fsafds October 31, 2013 at 11:18 am

    George Quinnell buying them all to set them free does nothing but reward and encourage this. The only thing that will push Chinese officials to move at all is shame, so you’d have to video this and then post it online. Nothing else would do anything, that’s how it works in china.

  6. Cathy Kramer October 30, 2013 at 8:34 pm

    this is evil and horrific i am out raged and shocked that people would do this and people would buy these

  7. Lauren Clifford October 23, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    This is morally reprehensible. Time to right ourselves before the next generation never learns what it’s like to have respect for life!

  8. dix October 21, 2013 at 6:56 pm

    “Neale also implied that attempting to keep the animals as pets could put those who buy the key chains at risk (though anyone crazy enough to buy one of these disgusting trinkets probably deserves it).”

    You mean like sympathetic little children, for example?

  9. George Quinnell October 19, 2013 at 4:39 pm

    I’d buy them all, cut open the plastic they\\\’re in, and let them free. This is sickening. Should take whoever thought of this idea and put them in a large bubble so they can live for up to 2 months.

  10. yoimjess October 18, 2013 at 5:22 pm

    LMB, he isn’t really. Neither wool nor eggs come from deceased animals as meats for consumption do. Eggs can be sourced organically and shearing a sheep doesn’t cause harm.

  11. julietazo October 18, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    See the way that the little terrapin in the video is frantic, kicking it’s legs. Nasty people, how dare they do this to these animals just for their own financial gain!

  12. LMB June 25, 2013 at 12:16 am

    English cheese man, if you still consume eggs and dairy, or wear leather or wool, you are absolutely contradicting yourself.

  13. english cheese man June 20, 2013 at 7:01 pm

    Moraltach, I wouldn’t be so quick to say that. If you cool oxygen below it’s freezing temperature(-218.79 °C), it will solidify.

    Alternatively, they could have formed an ionic lattice with the oxygen, which is also known as a crystal.

    The idea with both being that over time, either heat or chemicals in the liquid will cause the oxygen to be released as inhaleable gas.

  14. english cheese man June 20, 2013 at 6:57 pm

    I don’t see why anyone who eats meat or fish would care. I think it’s because you’re bringing the reality of how food is actually made to a largely ignorant consumer base. The reality is that this is little worse than an abbatoir.

    I’m vegetarian and can protest this without contradicting myself.

  15. moralltach June 18, 2013 at 6:21 pm

    Maybe people should have been tipped off by the fact that “crystallized oxygen” isn’t a real thing.

  • Read Inhabitat

  • Search Categories

  • Recent Posts

  • Recent Comments

  • Browse by Keyword

get the free Inhabitat newsletter

Submit this form
popular today
all time
most commented
more popular stories >
more popular stories >
more popular stories >
Federated Media Publishing - Home