It’s not just cruelty, it’s an affront to decency. Enslaving an animal to perform against its nature is already shameful enough but this plunge it to a new low .
Could you imagine the stress to the mother and its infant ? This is not a rare happening, it’s not freak and it’s actually a practice to prey on our heart. It’s an insult to motherhood.
Just a click away and you’ll be aghast at the horrid images of “ Topeng Monyet “ or Dancing Monkey in Indonesia. The practice has no cultural element in it at its present form as it is nowadays a largely unregulated commercial enterprise being run by gangs who rent out to street children, heavily indebted ( hence they work for free ) to perform the monkeys at traffic intersections or along the roadsides. Any money gained for the most part will be taken away by the gang. The kids will learn nothing useful for themselves and will never be able to extricate themselves from their debt, so in a way they are just as unfortunate as their monkeys, those who enslave are themselves slaves as well.
A grown-up monkey cannot be trained. To make a monkey stand upright and learn to perform humanly-like antics the trainer has to start with a baby monkey fresh – each one is ripped from its mother in the wild forest by the poachers and bought from the infamous animal market in Jakarta by the trainer. They are best to train between 7-8 months old for they are more or less developed with good muscles yet still pliable with their joints and ligaments. Nevertheless about half of them still perish during the training to make them walk upright, against their nature. Only successful monkeys could then be rented out but once they hit adulthood many of them will become too aggressive and uncooperative and have to be put down. Some may even end up in restaurants specializing in monkey cuisines. One way or the other their demises are ensured. As their working life is not long, the business relies on the availability of baby monkeys in the animal market to be trained constantly to replace those no longer able to perform. Thus it’s a all about supply and demand.
Seeing and experiencing enough cruelties themselves day in and day out I could imagine everyone involved in Topeng Monyet will more or less be despairing at humanity themselves. Cruelty begets more cruelty, it will never lead them out of poverty.
Thanks to the work of JAAN ( Jakarta Animal Aid Network ) this practice of Topeng Monyet has now been banned in Jakarta, the capital as well as in the provincial cities of Solo and Bandung. For instance, the city government of Jakarta launched raids back in 2013 to take and buy back all monkeys ( 90 USD for each confiscated ) used as street buskers and shelter them at a 2.5-acr preserve at Jakarta’s Ragunan Zoo. This is a first step in the right direction. Topeng Monyet even if it is a cultural heritage has to be regulated and definitely not be left in the hands of gangs which think these monkeys are expendable commodity, not life.
Keeping monkeys as pets in Indonesia is not against the law and most Indonesians do know they make bad pets and are only cute for a few months – and above all it’s a 20-year commitment to say the least. Once they are no longer easy to keep and become unruly most are either abandoned or locked up in cages and never be looked upon as their dear babies ever again. As pets they are hard to sell ( hence they only sell at like 6 dollars each ) and it’s only people in the business of Topeng Monyet help keep the baby monkey trade afloat. Now that Topeng Monyet is banned I think this illegal trade won’t be able to sustain any longer.
But not indoor Topeng Monyet.
There are now individuals from Indonesia trying to parade their “ pet “ baby monkey on Youtube to make money. Some are even unscrupulous enough to spin sobbing tales about themselves all in the hope of bringing in unsuspecting viewers to ” aid ” them financially. One common ploy is to pretend that they have to sell their beloved pets as they are too poor to keep them any longer – but remember a monkey baby only costs about 6 dollars each in Indonesia and no one in the right frame of their mind there will buy it for more than that ( not at least a few thousand dollars in the States or other more affluent countries where the viewers come from ). After all wouldn’t it be easier that an interested local buyer get one themselves, cuter and younger and moreover not-yet-bonded with its keeper from the animal market ? If merely 6 dollars will keep the owner afloat financially I think they might as well sell the laptop or mobile that they have been using to upload their videos of their beloved “ pet “ they find hard to separate first. I’m pretty sure those gadgets will fetch them more money in ebay there.
The story just doesn’t add up if one examine logically but unfortunately there are still plenty of people fallen for it and give crooks there easy money.
If more people catch wind that they could make easy money by parading their baby monkeys on Youtube or other similar platforms I fear the market for baby macaques will ignite once again as there will be many copycats to follow the act. After all it’s a small investment ( 6 dollars for the baby and upkeep is pretty cheap at least for a baby ) that could potentially pull in money at least several hundred times over. And they are easy to get rid of once they expire in their cuteness department – remember those are indoor pets and whatever happen to them is up to its owner. No authority could have the resources nor manpower to prevent anything untoward to them. In the best scenario they may find a sanctuary where they could be released ….. but I can’t imagine what their fate is like in the hands of crooks who keep them solely for money.
Another new user name and another channel a brand new baby monkey will be paraded again every now and then for a few minutes in a video doing unnatural antics. An altogether new enterprise once again and the cycle will just continue.
There is only so much JAAN could do and it has taken them 5 years of hard work to finally bring some belated changes to the scene. They even have set up a sanctuary for these rehabilitated ex-Topeng-Monyet monkeys on an island.
But they are powerless against monkeys kept as pets.
Please don’t undo their hard work.
Don’t support any form of indoor Topeng Monyet from Indonesia.
Think twice before you part with your money.
Thank you 🙂