If you’ve seen the Hangover II, you may have noticed a small monkey stealing the show as it performed acrobatic stunts, delivered drugs to the movies’ stars, and performed other human activities for the camera. While this primate star may have been given the royal treatment on set, not far away in other parts of Asia, the little animals are not nearly as lucky.
A trained Macaque monkey takes part in a street performance in Jakarta, Indonesia. These trained street performers, known colloquially as “topeng monyet”, are chained to cages in certain city centers or “monkey villages”, where the animals are trained to behave in manners that will entertain passerby and hopefully earn the owners some spare change.
The street performances usually involve the monkeys donning doll like masks and bright clothing designed for small children, while acting out decidedly human activities such as shopping, riding small bicycles, or even smoking.
While poverty levels are certainly at the heart of the handlers’ drive to exploit the little primates, the obvious cruelty adverse conditions that the monkeys are subjected to has not gone unnoticed, having caught the attention of the Jakarta Animal Aid Network and other animal cruelty groups.