The Learning Channel (TLC) has sunk to an all time low with their new show My Monkey Baby which airs this Sunday, October 4.
The show chronicles a couple who keep a capuchin as a “pet” but treat the monkey as their daughter. The couple dresses the monkey, named Jessica Marie, in designer clothes, puts makeup on her, and buys her children’s toys.
While groups like Born Free USA are trying to prohibit people from owning these animals due to animal welfare concerns and public safety issues, TLC is promoting this “ownership” with airing this program.
There are approximately 15,000 non-human primates in private hands in the U.S. and this program may in fact increase that number! Monkeys do not make good “pets” and they certainly do not make good surrogate children!
Monkeys are highly social, intelligent animals with complex behavioral and psychological needs. They require companionship with other monkeys, group living, space, and an enriched environment. Deprived of the companionship of others of their kind and raised like children in human households, these highly social, sensitive, and intelligent animals lead lonely and dysfunctional lives. They often develop abnormal, stereotypical behavior such as pacing, rocking, and self-mutilation. Many “owners” will also deliberately mutilate their “pet” primates to make them more manageable, by having their canine teeth (or all teeth) as well as their fingernails surgically removed.
Then, after cute little baby monkeys endure all this, reach maturity, and become completely unhandleable, people think they can hand them off to already overloaded sanctuaries. The Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary already houses more than 500 monkeys, many of which came from the same conditions I describe above.
Please contact TLC and urge them to pull this program from their line-up.
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