Applaud Ban on Monkey Street Performances

Target: Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo

Goal: Commend a new ban on cruel roadshows that force monkeys to perform for money.

Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo recently ordered all street monkey performances to be phased out by 2014. The performing monkeys, which are confined by chains or a cage, are a common attraction in the busy city streets of the Indonesian capital, Jakarta. They will be moved to a sanctuary zoo, where they will still be visible to the public, as they are unsuited to return to their natural habitat.

The traditional topeng monyet, as it is called in Indonesia, features trained macaques performing circus-like acts with various masks. They are often dressed in human-like clothing, hold begging bowls, and use props such as small bicycles or chairs. They simulate human behaviors such as shopping or exercising in order to generate some small change for their owners.

The monkeys are forced to endure long days of repetitive behavior in hot and polluted city streets. At night, they are often confined to tiny, filthy cages in dark sheds. The animals show signs of distemper and poor health, and are often emaciated, with patchy fur, and growl viciously at onlookers.

Punishment is used as a motivation during training, resulting in the animals being hung upside down, beaten, restrained, or starved. They have their teeth pulled out so that they are unable to defend themselves. Trainers often get the young and impressionable macaques from poachers, who kill their mothers in the wild before taking them into captivity.

The Indonesian government will be buying the monkeys and placing them in a 2.5 acre wildlife preserve at the Ragunan Zoo in Jakarta. The government will also be helping the trainers and handlers with vocational training to find other available sources of income. Your signature will thank the Indonesian government for its efforts to stop animal exploitation and educate citizens about cruelty-free ways to make a living.


Dear Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo,

Recently, a ban was imposed on topeng monyet, or performing begging monkeys. The monkeys would be forced to perform long days on hot streets, and often suffered health problems due to these conditions. To train the monkeys, handlers would starve, restrain, beat, or even hang the monkeys upside down. The macaques would be taken from their mothers by poachers at a young age, and have their teeth removed so they could not retaliate against abuse.

The macaques will now by moved into a 2.5 acre wildlife reserve in the Ragunan Zoo where they can enjoy more natural conditions, while handlers will receive vocational training to find other sources of livelihood. Thank you for your efforts to reduce stress on these animals as well as educate citizens on humane income sources.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Hariadhi via WikiMedia Commons

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One Comment

  1. Hi, I’d just like to make a quick comment, my family and I go to Indonesia almost every year on holiday and the performing street monkeys sicken me. The chains are so tight around their necks it almost makes their eyes bulge out. Like they want to be out there banging a drum or riding a bike in their stupid little tight costumes… Unfortunately they almost always have an audience…. Come on people! It’s not cute! It’s revolting! Put them back where they belong, or better, don’t steal them from their mothers in the first place!
    The worst thing about going there is that every tourist thing to do has to do with the exploitation of animals…. Turtle island, elephant rides, performing monkeys… All kinds of parks and zoos full of miserable creatures!!!! Don’t visit these places! Enjoy the beautiful country for all the other amazing things it has to offer such as the amazing beaches, awesome weather and beautiful places!

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