Don’t feed the baby monkey pet trade !

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 .

A nursing monkey begging for money ( picture from JAAN )

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.

The traditional method to force them to walk upright…. no doubt causing early arthritis to the axial skeleton and related joints not designed to handle the weight of the body this way 🙁

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.

Monkey babies languishing in a cage waiting for a buyer …

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.

A life like this is already cruel enough…..

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.

They could be have for so cheap – it just doesn’t make sense. Life is worthless 🙁

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 🙂

5 thoughts on “Don’t feed the baby monkey pet trade !

  1. This make me sick. My heart goes out to those poor monkeys. But I know KARMA is just around the corner. Have you heard about that famous hunter who was killed by an elephant? He was crushed to death.

    On a different note, are you sure that Bossy Jr. died? and was not kidnapped by “inhuman” being? I read something about medical experiments using baby monkeys… OMG I hope not…

    1. Unfortunately medical experiments on monkeys — babies and adults — are still ongoing and still common. About two years ago a prominent neuroscientist at the Max Planck Institute for Cybernetics ceased his work on macaques and wrote a sob story about the “abuse” he endured at the hands of animal rights activists.

      What he did not say was why animal rights activists — and people with a heart in general — were so upset. Footage from the laboratory showed macaques with metal nodes installed permanently into their skulls for Cybernetics research. These macaques were bleeding from open head wounds, the surgery looked like the kind of work done in an underground, illegal chop shop, and the monkeys themselves were given no veterinary care. They were just dumped back into featureless cages with no mental stimulation, bleeding and depressed and confused.

      A few years ago (2014) the National Institutes of Health (a US government agency) was caught conducting the same pointless maternal deprivation studies originally done by Dr. Harry Harlow decades ago. Baby monkeys were taken from their moms, or the moms were sedated so they would literally collapse unconscious, so the babies thought their mothers had died. In other experiments, researchers literally put tape across the breasts of mother macaques so the babies could not physically nurse — the entire point of the experiment was to see how the babies would respond if they could no longer nurse. These were not weaned babies, they were newborns.

      So yes, unfortunately this stuff is real, which is why it’s important to remain vigilant. Intelligent animals should not be abused and sentenced to death just because we want to them st the toxicity of makeup or drugs, and innocent babies should not suffer because some researcher decided to conduct a poorly thought-out experiment in maternal deprivation.

  2. Hey Arroz – Just an FYI, topeng monyet aren’t completely banned — they’re only banned in Jakarta. Elsewhere in Indonesia there is no law against keeping/training/exploiting them, and Indonesia isn’t the only country where this happens. Monkey “shows” almost identical to topeng monyet are popular in India, and in places like China.

    JAAN has done great work, but they’re one group in one city, and this problem is far-reaching.

    I’d also like to point out that if you look on Youtube, 95% of the channels operated by people who “own” baby monkeys go dark after about a year. I’ve seen this so many times I can’t even count the examples. They almost always start with a cutesy video of the baby’s first day home, or the baby’s first bath, followed by more baby videos. Then as the babies start to grow, the videos become less frequent until there are no more.

    We all know what happens to those babies.

    I have also noticed a pattern of blatant liars among the NHP owners on Youtube:

    * The owner of “baby monkey Nala,” a capuchin, claimed that she was just “fostering” the baby before bringing her “back” to the sanctuary — a situation that does not make sense and is impossible.

    * The owner of “baby monkey Zebadee” claims she didn’t get her capuchin monkey from a breeder, and that her baby “wasn’t pulled from his mamma.”

    These are transparent lies. The United States banned the “import” of capuchin monkeys in 1975, so the only remaining capuchin monkey “stock” comes from breeders who were grandfathered in. In other words, they had existing capuchin breeder monkeys in their US facilities before the ban on imports went into effect, and they continued to breed them. Scarcity leads to higher prices, and with the thousands of “cute baby monkey” videos on Youtube, more and more people see them and are determined to buy baby monkeys.

    Thus, the ONLY way to get a baby capuchin monkey (or a macaque) in the US is to buy one from a breeder for between $5,000 and $8,000. Breeders will NEVER give away baby monkeys for “rescue” because baby monkeys are literally their stock. That’s how they make their money. Their entire business is centered around breeding and selling babies. Here is a great documentary about that process:

    https://youtu.be/WTY9pWETrhA

    These women who buy the babies and then lie about how they got them are just making it easier for people to buy them as pets — they tell themselves these lies that they are “rescuing” the babies because they do not want to think about the reality, which is that the breeder went into the enclosure with a net and literally ripped the baby monkey from his/her mother’s arms.

    This is why I am highly critical of individual monkey owners, who put these videos up making it look like baby monkeys are amazing pets, and that there is no downside to buying one, and there is no suffering involved. They are the ones fueling the western baby monkey trade by inspiring others to buy baby monkeys. A friend who works with Jungle Friends sanctuary told me she’s seen examples of new baby monkey “owners” going to Yahoo Answers to ask what to feed their monkey and how to care for them. That’s heartbreaking, and shows the amount of ignorance and cold-heartedness.

    Lastly, I want to apologize if things got a little heated in the discussion of monkey “pets” on your channel, but I will not acquiesce to people who insist that stealing baby monkeys from their mothers and keeping them as pets is not a problem. There are some people who do not want to know anything about this pet trade, and so they rage at people who talk about the problem, because they want to maintain their fantasy of one day buying a baby monkey. They don’t want to know anything about the poor mother who has her baby ripped from her arms. They don’t want to know anything about the 60+ years of studies proving baby monkeys develop serious mental health issues from being separated from their moms and raised in captivity. All they want to know is that baby monkeys are cute, and they want to own one.

    I’ve said it before, but thanks for the good work you do.

    Cheers!

  3. I solved the “wanting a pet baby monkey” by getting, on eBay, for $4 USD, a toy stuffed monkey. It is 4″ tall and totally cute. The species represented is a Squirrel Monkey who now sits on my computer table. I find this little monkey to be a perfect pet.

  4. Thank you for educating us on what to look for on YouTube. I was subscribed to a channel with Maymay as the draw. I knew from the beginning that there was more to this story…
    As I unsubscribed, I left the only comment I’ve ever left on that channel, begging him to turn her into a sanctuary.
    Love your videos & care. Found you years ago before you disappeared. Glad you’re back & making a difference.

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