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Just when you think you’ve seen it all when it comes to animal cruelty, leave it to heartless humans to shock us again. While we have long been aware that monkeys are used to perform silly stunts and tricks as part of circus acts and street performances (as seen in the 1994 movie Monkey Trouble), Topey Monyet is a new term for many of us. Topey Monyet means “monkey’s mask,” and refers to the cruel act of dressing monkeys, most commonly macaques, in ridiculous clothing with masks, and having them perform for money.

As seen in the footage posted in a Youtube video, the monkeys are usually controlled by their handlers using a chain. While this video most certainly is disturbing, it’s the cruelty that happens during training that is the most upsetting. These innocent animals are typically stolen from the rainforest, most notably in Indonesia, before being beaten and hung from their necks in order to learn how to walk upright like a human. Most of these macaques will never return to the wild and will live their entire lives being tortured and exploited.

As animal lovers, whenever we see a wild animal performing unnatural acts, we have a responsibility to ask ourselves, what had to happen in order for them to learn it? The answer will almost always be cruelty, abuse, and/or neglect. Only when people stop giving money to those who exploit wild animals, will the cruelty stop.