Macaque Monkeys Trained — Tortured — to Perform in Indonesia

I had thought that organ grinders with dancing monkeys were a cruel phenomenon of the past.

I stand corrected: As the Denver Post reports, trained endangered macaque monkeys known as “topeng monyet” can still be seen performing on the streets of Indonesia:

The street performances usually involve the monkeys wearing masks, such as dolls’ heads or attire to mimic humans, with the monkeys trained to act out human activities such as shopping, riding bicycles or other simulations of human behavior.

Poverty drives the handlers to exploit the monkeys in the hope of earning small change, but the effect and cruelty to the monkeys is a cause that charities such as the Jakarta Animal Aid Network are increasingly taking up.

The monkeys are kept chained in “monkey villages,” where they are trained to perform to stand on two feet, jump through rings, pull carts and other “tricks.” Take a look at the images of the monkeys on the Denver Post: The sight of them wearing dolls’ head masks is horrific.

The Jakarta Animal Aid Network went undercover to learn more about the cruelty the monkeys suffer. According to the Mirror, the macaques are captured in the forests of Sumatra:

Teams of poachers use ­sickening methods to trap them. The most popular one is to shoot the mother and then prise the clinging baby off her. 

Baby macaques are preferred as they have a longer life as ­performers. The ­poachers are paid £2 for each monkey by dealers, who sell them on to street “entertainers” in Jakarta for £5 each.

It’s here the torture really begins. The monkeys are hung upside down so they learn how to walk ­upright. Chains are then clamped around their necks and they have to stand up straight or be punished.

The monkeys are starved and only fed when they obey to make sure they learn quickly. The highly-social primates are forced to live inside cramped wooden crates and can’t interact with each other, leading them to become deeply ­disturbed.

You can learn more about the Jakarta Animal Aid Network by going here, and please take action by signing this petition to end the Stop the Torture of Macaque Monkeys in Jakarta.

Photo by Alwita.

234 comments

Susan g.
Susan G.2 years ago

These monkeys our so important and needed to grow and live their lives in the rainforest yet they are hunted. Only2,000 left they live just like a normal family trying to raise their kids lives yet evil bad people hunt them. They help us to grow trees when they eat their fruits in the rainforest. My god I love these monkeys and care for them so much we HAVE to stop the evil killing them please sign your petitions involving this important beautiful macaque monkeys.

This piece of crap having this monkey on a leash I would kick back I hope this monkey is free rescued.

Isabelle J.
Isabelle J.4 years ago

This is horrible and disgusting!

nora b.
Nora b.4 years ago

How incredibly cruel. When people are dirt poor they are thinking of feeding their families and themselves and the suffering of animals is unimportant. The injustice of a tiny percentage of the population hoarding most of the world's wealth must be addressed before cruelty such as this can be eradicated. Signed, and I hope Indonesia is listening.

Antonia M.
Antonia Maestre4 years ago

"Those who wish to pet and baby wild animals "love" them.
But those who respect their natures and wish to let them
live normal lives, love them more."
--Edwin Way Teale, Circle of the Seasons, 1953

Yvonne S.
Yvonne S.4 years ago

That this is allowed to happen in this day and age is beyond me. If people would completely ignore the poor monkeys that would surely put an end to it. This story has made me terribly angry.

Michelle M.
Michelle M.4 years ago

People are so ignorant, but still, ignorance is no excuse. Signed the petition.

Darla G.
Darla G.4 years ago

This is horrible. These are highly intelligent animals. I've said it for years - greed is the root of all evil. This is a prime example and it has to stop.

Kim B.
Kim B.4 years ago

omg! this is sooo sad! im very sad to see how they abuse the poor monkeys i hope this end now!!!

KrassiAWAY B.
Krasimira B.4 years ago

So sad... Petition already signed.

caterina caligiuri

THESE PEOPLE DO O NOT DESERVE RESPECT...I HATE THEM...ALL THOSE WHO ABUSE ANIMALS...ALREADY SIGNED AND THANK TO POST IT...EXTREMELY ANGRY *cat