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So there is this letter going around facebook:

PLEASE SHARE IT , HUMBLE REQUEST ----

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.

Please help this little lives. Small as they may be, they are still lives!!!!!!!!!!

tl;dr: Salesmen in china sell turtles sealed in platic bags as keychains.

Sounds more like Bonsai Kittens 2.0 to me.

A site called hoax slayer allready tried to bust the myth, but as the cite credible sources like THE SUN, I am still not really convinced. At least the last source, states that PETA supposes the animals to only survive for some hours after beeing sold.

This was the first thing I was sceptical about, three months with that tiny bubble of air sounded very unconvincing. But now with that peta statement I'm asking myself how they actually manage this. If the lifespan is below a day, these creatures would still have to be put into the bags and everything has to be sealed. So I assume this has to be done freshly in the store.

So: Are there really live animals sold as keychains in china?

  • I only have anecdotal evidence against it, but my Chinese friends say, that it is not likely, that many Chinese would by this product. So I would think, that either someone tried to unsuccessfully sell this product once or twice or that it does not exist at all. – Sebastian Langer Apr 2 '12 at 22:51
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    The source that quotes PETA sounds fake. I couldn't find the quotes given on PETA's website, or anything at all about this on PETA's website. Searching for "Lyndsey Wright" at the domain peta.org returns no results. – Sam I Am Apr 2 '12 at 23:06
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    @SamIAm: Looks like it is meant to be spelt "Lindsay Rajt". (I also found her name spelt: Lindsey Wright, Lindsay Wright, Linsday Rajt...) – Oddthinking Apr 3 '12 at 0:08
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    I'm finding lots of stories about this, and (importantly), almost each one has a unique photo, suggesting it isn't a single case of Photoshop: helablog.com/2011/03/… – Oddthinking Apr 3 '12 at 0:13
  • Although there are a lot of articles that use the same picture over and over an image search for goldfish keychain or tortoise keychain yields some more. – Baarn Apr 3 '12 at 0:14
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The internet is full of reports on the phenomena, as well as many images. A simple Google image search for "live fish keychain" or "live turtle keychain" will give you many different images of such keychains. As well I've found those two Youtube movies showing the animals (not a slide of pictures):

A live goldfish A small turtle

As well as the article that you yourself pointed to in hoax-slayer which quotes many sources. It shows that those things are real and exist.

What is not sure is how long can they live in those bags, and how prolific is the phenomenon.

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    I like your (gr)avatar ;) – Baarn Apr 4 '12 at 15:27

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