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Protest Message - Live 'Tortoise' Souvenirs Sold in China

Message circulating on Facebook claims that live tortoises sealed in bags of herbal solution are being sold as souvenirs in China

Tiny Turtle

Brief Analysis
The claims are true. According to various media reports, living turtles and fish have indeed been sold sealed in plastic bags as key rings in China. The activity has caused outrage among animal rights activists.

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Turtle Key Ring

On a commercial street in China, little tortoises are found packaged as souvenir!!! These little tortoises are still alive and swimming inside a herbal solution. The store owner says it can live for 1-3 months. 5 RMB a piece.

This is too cruel and unacceptable!!! God knows how many little lives were slowly suffocated to silent death; their fate sealed in a bag!!!

Has the commercial world no more other ideas to make money!!!

Please help "Share" this. Hopefully some media or government will pick up this news and step in to stop this animal cruelty! Perhaps find the real victim and put an end to such uncivilized act.

Detailed Analysis
This message, which is currently circulating via social media, claims that small living tortoises entombed in plastic bags of herbal solution are being sold as souvenirs in China. The message asks people to share the information as a means of pressuring "media or government" to put a stop to this cruel commercial activity.

The claims in the message are based on fact. Small turtles (not tortoises) and fish have indeed been sold in China as living key rings. An April 2011 New Zealand Herald article notes:
Animal rights groups are appalled by a new popular trinket being sold on the streets of China - live animal key rings.

The key rings are attached to a bag filled with coloured water containing either a live Brazil turtle or two small fish.
Another April 2011 news article published on the Emirates 24 website also reports on the issue:
Live fish and turtles sealed in small key rings sold in subway entrances and train stations in China have got animal protection groups up in arms, reports 'Asiaone'.

Filled with coloured water, each seven centimetre-long key ring, sold at Sihuiv subway station, encapsulated either one Brazil turtle or two small kingfish.The vendors claim the water in the rings have nutrients and so the fish can live for months.
As far back as 2008, Olympic Games traders in China were selling live goldfish sealed in key ring bags that featured the Beijing Games mascot.

Animal rights groups have pointed out that, although vendors claim that the fish and turtles can live for months on the nutrients in the solution, they are in fact likely to die within hours or days due to lack of oxygen. There is no way to feed the animals or replenish their oxygen. Keeping them in such conditions is unconscionably cruel and immoral.

Unfortunately, selling the animals in the way described is legal in China

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Last updated: March 13, 2013
First published: 15th February 2012
By Brett M. Christensen
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