Baby monkeys tortured and killed in videos posted on US-based chat group

*Graphic content* Shocking footage of monkeys being subjected to extreme violence uncovered by animal rights activists

Holly Bancroft
Wednesday 11 August 2021 18:02 BST
(Acion for Primates)
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A US-based online chat group is paying to watch videos of “monkey torture”, animal advocacy campaigners have discovered.

Individuals can either buy their own private baby monkey or they join with others for a “share” of a “community monkey”. They then pay as little as $20 for certain horrific acts to be performed on the young macaques.

Shocking footage obtained by the UK activist group Action for Primates and US organisation Lady Freethinker showed monkeys having their ears and fingers cut off, handlers using a pin to pierce the animals tongues and eyelids, and tying them to a cross before being beaten.

The online group, which has over thirty members, has been running since May this year and campaigners believe there could be other secretive groups that are feeding the demand for videos of animal cruelty.

One organizer of the cruel videos posted the rules of the “monkey adoption program” on an internet forum, boasting: “I believe we may be able to secure 2 more monkeys in the next 24 hours, and these are the youngest yet... I have a few videos in the works right now.”

Another warned members not to make their request too elaborate, adding that “ant videos” would be “double price ($50)”.

In another sick post, accompanied by a photo of a young monkey strapped to a wooden cross, a forum user tried to drum up interest saying: “Let’s all enjoy some initial monkey discomfort and be sure to sign up with Monkey Crusher and submit your $20 ideas for your own monkey video.”

The private chat group is based in the US but includes some members who say they are from the UK . Members then organise for handlers in Indonesia to perform the horrific acts on native monkeys.

In one video, a baby money was covered in flammable liquid and set on fire.

Baby macaques are subjected to cruel taunts for made-to-order videos (Action for Primates)

Their chats were found on social media platforms Telegram and ForumMotion - although after ForumMotion was contacted about the videos they shut down the perpetrators’ accounts.

The secretive chat group members had initially used YouTube to “recruit” people who they thought would enjoy the sadistic “monkey adoption programme”.

In one comment posted to the group, a user said: “Once we are around 50 members, I am comfortable with stopping the promotion in YouTube comments and just letting our users personally invite people.”

Animal activists have warned that social media platforms such as Youtube and Facebook are not doing enough to stop animal abusers meeting online.

Sarah Kite, from Action for Primates, said: “YouTube are enabling people to meet and have vile conversations on their platform. We know that members of these chat groups met on YouTube and were also trying to recruit people on YouTube.

“Social media platforms aren’t taking effective action on the videos of animal cruelty on their sites and they are not taking action quickly enough. Instead they are acting as breeding grounds for people to meet and escalate the violence that is inflicted on, in this case, monkeys.”

YouTube took down a number of video channels flagged to them by Action for Primates after they were found to be violating the sites spam policies and animal abuse guidelines.

Nina Jackel, Founder of Lady Freethinker, said: “Monkey torture and “hate” - particularly for baby macaques - is a widespread problem that’s been happening for years on YouTube. Channels exist solely to post videos of monkeys suffering and they have become meeting places for fetishists to encourage more violence and fuel each other on.

“I fear that the private group we’ve discovered is just one case of filmakers selling videos directly to fetishists, as YouTube has provided an open door of communication and an easy way for those who enjoy watching the torture to connect.”

A spokesperson for YouTube said: “YouTube has never allowed content that’s violent or abusive toward animals.

“We’ve recently expanded our violent and graphic policy around animal abuse content, to more clearly prohibit content featuring deliberate physical suffering or harm to animals, including content featuring animal rescue that has been staged and places the animal in harmful scenarios.”

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