For years, street vendors across China have been selling necklaces, key rings and mobile phone accessories that are not only popular–but also highly controversial. They may look like cute little trinkets, but a closer look will make your heart break…


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These items actually contain living, breathing, tiny animals that die if left in the plastic pouches for too long. The creation and sale of these adorable-seeming trinkets have animal rights activists furious. But for now, there isn’t too much they can do about the deadly problem–due to a lack of solid animal cruelty laws in certain countries.




These packets that contain a variety of small fish, tiny turtles and other minuscule amphibians–supposedly can be kept alive for a short time because the animals are floating in colored, oxygenated water. Vendors say the animals can live up to 30 days in them, but many die within just one or two days.


Because these packets of live animals cost only $1.50, people are snatching them up in droves–and the animals are dying just as fast. CNN interviewed one vendor who said the animals can live for days in the nutrient- and oxygen-rich packet, but should be released when the air runs out. Otherwise, the animals will die a slow, miserable death due to suffocation.


David Neale, animal welfare director of Animals Asia, told CNN that animal rights groups have condemned the animal packets and note they’re still allowed because China doesn’t have decent animal protection laws.


“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.”


There also is a health risk to people purchasing the live animal novelty. Baby turtles are commonly used in them, and coming into close contact with turtles and other amphibians can expose humans to a host of diseases, such as salmonella.


Here’s more on this heartbreaking story of animal abuse.


Even if they appear to be cute at first glance, the live animal necklaces and key chains are contributing to the mass occurrence of slow, miserable deaths of too many animals. Activists hope that officials will enact tougher animal protection laws. In the meantime, they hope spreading the word about this horrifying trend will curb their purchase. What do you think of this so-called fashion style?

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