Orphan monkeys forced to serve beers and play air hockey with kids in ‘bar jobs’

Orphaned monkeys are being made to serve beer in bars and play air hockey with kids in Japan.

Thousands of macaques are killed in Japan each year, after being reported to authorities by angry farmers for destroying fruit and vegetable crops.

According to the Ministry of the Environment, 19,000 monkeys are culled each year in state-sponsored programs, leaving thousands more babies orphaned.

Some of these babies end up falling into the hands of entertainment groups, report National Geographic in its March issue.

They are then trained to fuel the Japanese's insatiable appetite for monkey performance, traditionally known as "sarumawashi".

Modern interpretations include disciplined troops of monkeys being made to perform slapstick acrobatic plays while dressed in little costumes, for the amusement of children and adults alike.

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Some primates even become the main in house entertainment in bars and amusement arcades, a phenomenon well documented on social media feeds by thousands of satisfied customers.

In a bar in Utsunomiya, two hours north of Tokyo, selfies with the animals are also encouraged by management as being good for business.

Here macaques are made to serve ice-cold beers, and hand out warm towels to cheering patrons, all while dressed up in costumes and masks to resemble well-known figures – including US President Donald Trump.

Elsewhere macaques dressed in little playsuits are made to entertain children by challenging them to games of air hockey at the Nikko Saru Gundan – a monkey entertainment complex in Nikko City.

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Visiting the roadside attraction, in the mountains north of Tokyo, National Geographic's Rene Ebersole said: "I saw a macaque in diapers and an orange leisure suit trounce a five-year-old visitor in a game of air hockey.

"Every time the puck came its way, the monkey smacked it back toward the challenger's goal. Another monkey doled out fortunes.

"On the main outdoor stage, a male macaque in a kimono struck macho poses and leaped over high hurdles."

Later a comedy show parodying a popular tv crime show was put on.

Despite its popularity, international organisations are critical of Japan's cultural obsession with animal-based entertainment.

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Jason Baker, senior vice president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals told National Geographic: "The world is outraged by gimmicky animal acts, which is why so many animal circuses are closing their doors and countries are banning them.

"Sadly, history has shown us that we can't rely on governments to protect animals, especially in countries like Japan, where animal welfare laws are weak.

"No one monitors living conditions, preproduction training sessions, maternal separation, or what happens to animals when they're no longer used by the entertainment industry."

Elsewhere the UK Government is launching a crackdown on people keeping monkeys as pets over welfare concerns .

A think tank "calling for evidence on the welfare of primates" hopes to provide a case for an all-out ban after many were found to be mentally disturbed.

It comes as a global band of monkey owners are known to dress pets up as baby substitutes and parade their exploits online in disturbing detail.

This includes two rescue monkeys in Kuala Lumpur who share a human bed, wear clothes and live in a house like married couple.

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