Monkey see, monkey do ….

16 09 2007

A non-profit organisation in the USA called Helping Hands trains monkeys to help people with paralysis from the neck down (quadriplegics) and severe mobility impairments. This has made me think, can monkeys be trained to help deaf people, in the same way that a Hearing Dog does?

Why are monkeys being trained? Monkeys use their hands to accomplish tasks that dogs cannot. They are more useful and also more expensive at US$35,000 per monkey placement, compared to the cost of a UK Hearing Dog at GBP£5,000 (US$10,000). However, monkeys live 30-40 years whereas a dog will only live up to about 12 years.

There are currently over 200,000 people in the USA who have become paralyzed as a result of a spinal cord injury, with an additional 12,000-15,000 new injuries occurring each year. Most people are between the ages of 16-26 at the time of their injury. The figures in the UK are obviously much smaller, but surely there must still be a need for additional support such as monkeys? It is possible to adopt capuchin monkeys in the UK so the opportunity is there.

I think training monkeys is an amazing idea. What I would find interesting to know is, are public places in the USA geared up for access for these monkeys? Do monkey recipients have more access problems than Hearing Dog / Seeing Dog recipients?

Why aren’t they trained and placed in the UK? Lack of funds ………. again?!




4 responses

17 09 2007


OMG! Please,no! How would any single gal ever get a date when she had to carry her monkey around? (No pun intended). How about church? Someone might mistake us for an Organ Grinder! And what about the sanitary aspects of a monkey? I have heard that they can be pretty graphic!


17 09 2007

Are you kidding??

17 09 2007

how much it cost when i take monkey to vet for take care of sick monkey ????

17 09 2007

I think there are a distinct lack of primates available in the UK frankly, we’ve zeroed them to almost extinction… I’ve never been convinced about hearing dogs personally. You end up arguing about pet lovers and other irrelevant issues. I think deaf would not be welcoming to primates signing for them, the ridicule and teasing would make it a non-starter, and bona-fide interpreters would take umbrage, they wouldn’t work for bananas…. 🙂

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