Animal protection groups Lady Freethinker and Action for Primates have welcomed the prosecution of Wisconsin resident Kenneth Herrera – whom the groups first identified to law enforcement in 2021 – for paying a video operator in Indonesia to brutally torture a baby macaque on camera.
The federal animal crushing charge was detailed in a plea agreement, which states Herrera had messaged a video maker in Indonesia asking that they use a hammer to break a juvenile monkey’s hands, arms, and feet, and use pliers to pick the animal up by his genitals and smash him to the ground. He also requested that the video operator use a hammer to “crack him on the head,” among other abuses.
Records state that 10 video files showing the macaque being tortured were later sent to Herrera.
Action for Primates and Lady Freethinker first exposed the setting up of private online groups to order and pay for the making of videos depicting the horrifying torture and killing of baby monkeys in 2021 and have continued to investigate and work to end it by publishing reports, communicating directly with social media platforms, and researching and sending intelligence and information to law enforcement.
Nina Jackel, president and founder of Lady Freethinker stated: “Paying for the torture and killing of baby monkeys for online ‘entertainment’ – or for any reason – is appalling and must never be tolerated. We are relieved that this individual, who is responsible for unimaginable cruelty, was prosecuted, and hope it will deter others from carrying out similar sadistic acts.”
Sarah Kite, co-founder, Action for Primates stated: “We welcome this action taken by law enforcement. Those involved in the horrifying torture and killing of baby monkeys must be held to account, and others deterred from taking part in such perverted and sadistic behaviour. We hope that this action will send a clear message – that there are legal consequences for those who take part in these atrocities.”
Monkey torture online was also the focus of a recent BBC documentary, The Monkey Haters, which highlighted the use of social media in a global monkey torture ring producing, sharing, and selling online monkey torture content, and spanning from Indonesia to the United States. Videos included monkeys having parts of their body cut off or their bones broken, the animals crammed in small jars of water and forcefully held down, and others where macaques’ eyes were drilled out with a power tool.
The groups also are urging social media platforms and messaging platforms, such as YouTube, Facebook, and Telegram, to do more to prevent videos showing monkeys being tortured and killed from spreading on their platform and have launched a petition, available here.