Living animals placed into keychains and lucky charms are a type of fashion trend in China, and have triggered widespread condemnation, as well as a petition from Avaaz. The animals are placed into small plastic bags and usually end up dying days later.
The human and animal rights-centered website recently started the petition to get the keychains–which contain live goldfish, salamanders, and turtles–banned.
The petition has generated more than 164,000 votes as of Monday, and it needs 1 million.
Avaaz said the “new fashion jewelry in China” as having “animals living under plastic containing a liquid nutrient and oxygen that allows them to live up to 2 months.”
“This is cruel and should be condemned by the international community,” the petition states.
In 2011, Time magazine and CNN reported on the phenomenon, saying the animals usually don’t even live for two months but live only a few days.
The animal bags, which contains colored, oxygenated water, cost around $1.50 a piece. Buyers are usually sold by vendors who stress that the animals will live for a long time, sustaining themselves from the nutrients in the water.
“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,” David Neale, the animal welfare director of Animals Asia, told CNN.
He added that keeping a turtle in a bag is risk for human health, as turtles “frequently carry salmonella bacteria that can cause serious illness.”