How Monkeys are Exploited and Abused for Organized Begging and Thievery

Monkeys are tragically exploited and abused for organized begging and thievery in certain parts of the world. This practice has been reported in India, Indonesia, Thailand, Pakistan, Cambodia, and Morocco. In these countries, monkeys are trained to perform tricks or collect money from people, often in tourist areas. Efforts by animal welfare organizations and authorities are being made to address this issue, but continued awareness and action are needed to protect these animals from abuse.

As a pro-animal organization, we aim to shed light on the distressing ways in which these animals are subjected to exploitation.

1. Trained for Begging


Monkeys are often captured and trained to perform tricks and entertain passersby in exchange for money. They may be dressed in costumes, chained, or restrained to attract attention and elicit sympathy from the public.

With a tip from a citizen, PETA India was able to rescue two monkeys that were being forced to beg at a railway station in Mumbai.

2. Forced to Collect Money

In organized begging, monkeys are trained to collect money or objects from people. Handlers often take advantage of their natural agility and ability to mimic human actions, coercing them to approach individuals and grab items or currency.

In 2018, a monkey was found being dressed as a little girl and sent to collect money in Bogor, Indonesia.

3. Chained and Restrained

Source: PETA Asia/Youtube

Monkeys involved in organized begging or thievery are often kept on chains or restrained using ropes, depriving them of their freedom to move and express natural behaviors. These restraints cause physical discomfort and can lead to injuries. In the video above, monkeys in Thailand are used to steal coconuts from trees. When they are not out looking for coconuts, they are chained and caged.

4. Punishment and Cruelty

Handlers resort to punishment and cruelty to ensure obedience from the monkeys. Inflicting physical pain, such as beating or withholding food, is commonly used to control their behavior and force them to perform as desired.

Baby monkeys are forced to dance for money in terrible ways. In one case, a monkey was forced onto wooden stilts with a metal chain around his neck. This was just a little bit of the cruelty that he was forced to endure. His eyes were tied around his back and he was hung up by the neck.

5. Exploitation for Theft

Source: The News Minute/Youtube

Some criminals exploit monkeys for their natural agility and nimbleness to aid in theft. Trained monkeys are used to snatch valuables, such as wallets, phones, or jewelry, from unsuspecting individuals in crowded areas.

6. Deprivation of Natural Needs


Monkeys used for organized begging or thievery are often deprived of their basic needs, including proper nutrition, healthcare, and social interaction. This neglect leads to physical and psychological suffering.

7. Unstable Living Conditions

Source: PETA Asia/Youtube

Monkeys involved in these exploitative practices are often kept in cramped, unsanitary living conditions. These environments lack proper hygiene and fail to provide the necessary mental and physical stimulation, leading to poor health and distress.

8. Lack of Legal Protection

In some regions, there may be insufficient legal protection for monkeys against organized begging and thievery. This gap allows these exploitative practices to persist without repercussions, perpetuating the cycle of abuse.

9. Public Awareness

Raising public awareness about the cruelty and unethical nature of using monkeys for organized begging and thievery is crucial. Educating communities and tourists about the negative impact on the welfare of these animals can help reduce demand and discourage such practices. One great resource is PETA India, which frequently intercepts cases of cruelty against monkeys. Additionally, Wildlife Alliance aims to help stop the abuse of monkeys.

10. Strengthening Laws and Enforcement

Enforcement of strict laws and regulations is vital to combat the exploitation and abuse of monkeys for organized begging and thievery. Governments must work together to ensure the protection of these vulnerable creatures and hold perpetrators accountable.

The exploitation and abuse of monkeys for organized begging and thievery is a heartbreaking reality that demands immediate attention. From training them for tricks and collecting money to using them for theft, these practices inflict physical and psychological suffering on these intelligent beings. It is imperative to raise awareness, strengthen legal protection, and enforce stronger laws to put an end to these cruel practices and ensure the well-being of these vulnerable animals.

This article by Trinity Sparke was first published by One Green Planet on 14 January 2024. Image Credit: Karo Krauz Photography/Shutterstock.

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