Seeing animal cruelty throughout the world is nothing new to an environmental activist or someone who has gone green. The level of that cruelty as it connects to profit can make that abuse even worse. To know that animals are being subjected to a terrible drawn out death for the sack of a quick buck can make anyone's stomach churn. Well, anyone except the people that manufacture live animal key chains and the tourists who buy them.
Are they Really Alive?
The curious question that may come to mind is if the animals are actually alive. The truth is, yes they are. These animals range from small turtles to lizards or even fish. They are kept in small sealed bags with a bit of oxygen and liquid in the bag. The bags are attached to a key chain and decorated with beads. Though this may sound cute, it is torture on the live animals inside. They are even advertised as only being able to survive for a few days before they suffocate to death.
Why Is This Allowed?
You may be wondering how this is allowed in countries like China. The main reason has to do with the initial purpose of the key chains or portable pets. Most people have said they are for pet owners who want to buy a pet, tote them around town while they shop, take them home, and release them. They are not meant to stay in the bag as an ongoing key decoration. What the customers do with them after the purchase isn't necessarily what the initial intent was.
So, for that reason many of the laws in place for animal cruelty don't come into play. The laws, in many areas, are designed to stop companies or people who intentionally perform animal cruelty. If the company has the intent of selling these items as pets, with the intent for the buyer to release the pet, then they are not harming the animal directly themselves. Therefore they aren't in violation of the law that may be on the books.
Who is the True Culprit of Animal Cruelty?
The big question for many activists is who the real enemy is in this situation. Who is the one causing the actual damage to the animal and who should be stopped? This can become tricky. The knee jerk reaction is to blame the company that packages the animals and sells them for a profit. They are making a profit off the suffering of the animals. Even if the intent is for the animal to be released, they are still kept in a terrible situation. If no one buys them, are they released? Why aren't they packaged upon request? How long have they been in the package? The answers to these questions could actually show the company is in violation of animal rights.
Now, look to the person buying the animal. If they are buying the animal and keeping it in the bag, then tossing it when it dies, they are the ones in violation. If they are taking the animal home, releasing it, keeping it healthy, and maintaining it as a well kept pet then that changes things.
At the end of the day, the real issue comes down to should these items be sold and if they are making a profit from animal cruelty. The quick answer is to decide for yourself and choose to either fight for the animals and boycott the companies by refusing to purchase the item, or to educate others and let them see what is happening to animals in the name of money.