Visiting Xiamen and looking for a unique souvenir to remember the city by? Well, how about a keychain with a live salamander inside?
The Star Online recently discovered that despite provoking outrage in the past, live animal keychains remain openly on sale at a tourist market in downtown Xiamen. The so-called “pet key chains” cost just 15 to 20 yuan each.
Along with salamanders, tourists can also choose terrapins and fish as their “pet.” These animals are kept sealed up in tiny airtight plastic pouches filled fluorescent, oxygenated water. For food, each pouch contains a single food pellet. A sign by the stall claims that the animals can live three months without needing to be fed.
We first encountered this sort of nonsense during the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Then, in 2011, the keychains took off in popularity in China and were quickly met with widespread outrage by animal rights activists who condemned them as blatant animal abuse, and began several online petitions calling for the Chinese government to ban their sale.
However, calls of animal cruelty have not completely stopped their sale. The keychains are still being bought up by tourists who snap them on to their keys, bags and mobile phones, and watch as the animals slowly die from lack of oxygen or food, or simply suffocate to death on their own excrement.
[Video via The Star Online]
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