· A lesson on Animal Cruelty ·

Although we aren’t vegans and 50% of our group of two aren’t pet owners, we really like animals. The mistreatment of them is not something we condone which is why we easily skipped the elephant rides in Bangkok. We passed on petting drug induced tigers in Phuket. We. Won’t. Eat. Dog.

During our totally animal-cruelty-free excursion to the Floating Market, we were ecstatic to see the cutest small “rescued” monkey. Lured by his savior-human, we went in for the touch. He was indeed softer than a beanie baby. Cuter than a kitten. Brittnie quickly said that we should name him “King Julian” in homage to Dreamworks Madagascar. As a self proclaimed cartoon connoisseur, I agreed. After falling in love with King Juju and snapping photos to remember this bundle of joy forever, the good Samaritan told us we owed him 150 Bhat. This should have been a warning sign of Thai trickery. But, Thai people speak to you in such a nice tone that even I was hoodwinked. As a half asian woman, my spidey sense may have had an inkling of an alert. But, because I have a soft spot for my people, I figured he made his living this way or maybe fed King Julian with said Bhat.

I understand a hustle. I’ve been doing it all my life. I started hustling at the ripe age of six. I drew flowers all day with my Roseart Crayons. My uncle Thanh was polite enough to tell me that the pieces  were beautiful. I insisted that if he thought they were so beautiful he could own the rights  for $.25 cents. He angrily declined and gave me the very Catholic reasoning that “God made this flowuh” and I was going to hell for trying to swindle people. I sold it to my dad for $.75 cents.

Anyway, I gave the good man 150 Bhat to raise King JuJu. Because, I recognized his honorable heart in my own.

This is how we found out we were WRONG:

::::: Visits Website ::::

A Slow Loris?

First, “King Julian” was NOT the right name for the magical market creature. Shame on me. I knew the real King Julian had a striped tail and was a completely different shade of grey. We stumbled upon a “Mort.” Far more adorable. Far more extinct and in danger of US.

“Mort” was a Slow Loris. To be honest, I didn’t know squat about a Loris, but I quickly had to learn about a slow one. As we dove into the deep, dark Google hole, our initial joy faded as we came to the conclusion that we’d inadvertently supported animal cruelty. PETA would have us as rugs, for sure.

We thought we had done all of our digging to be responsible and socially conscious travelers before embarking on the trip. We hate people who fake pose for pictures and vowed to never #DoItForTheGram. The more we searched for the truths on the Slow Loris, the deeper the guilt set. Any animal in a photo with a blonde Dutch woman in cornrows should be researched.

We decided to keep these posts up, not to spread the popularity of ill-informed tourists, but to educate and direct them to the resources WE used to fix our mistakes. If I had NOT seen a photo of someone with a tiger and read what’s wrong with it before visiting, I most definitely would have lived my childhood dream of petting “Raja” upon arrival.

Cute little Lorises contain a toxin that is released from the brachial gland on the sides of its elbows, making it one of the only venomous mammals in the world. If threatened, the Loris can take the toxin into its mouth and mix it with saliva. The toxin can cause death by anaphylactic shock in some people. I’m allergic to dust, so I can’t imagine any excuse plausible enough  to hold any animal after discovering I could be a victim of death by cuddle.

According to the International Animal Rescue, thousands of Slow Lorises are poached from the wild and illegally sold in animal markets around the world. The nocturnal primates suffer terrible stress from exposure to sunlight in these markets where they are dumped in cramped cages. The vendors cut their teeth to prevent them from biting and sell them as babies. Tragically, many of them die from trauma or injuries even before they have been sold. In Thailand, trade routes to the Lao People’s Democratic Republic are reported by the Loris Conservation Database. I’m surprised (and happy) that Mort still had his teeth as he nibbled my index finger.

After looking at this photo above, I realize Mort is CLEARLY on drugs. Reminiscent of someone on acid, feeling a textured sweater while listening to Skrillex at Coachella.

We really need a wifi hotspot or world plan to Google on the fly.

In June 2015, the International Animal Rescue launched the “Tickling is Torture” campaign with the aim of targeting the viral videos and images of Slow Lorises being kept as pets. Hopefully after seeing our video and being routed to this post, people will rethink this. Your selfie isn’t worth an animal’s life. That being said, here are a few helpful tips so you don’t end up on the interweb’s sh*t list for you un-woke memories with animals that actually hate you.

Ways to spot an animal that is subject to cruelty or trafficking IF you don’t have Google on hand:


  • The animal is performing. For you.

No animal gives a s**t about performing a jig for a human. The jig is up when you find out that’s the only way they will get fed.

       2) You can ride said animal.

Would you opt to carry something on your back that doesn’t benefit you or your family? They don’t need money to keep the light on for Jr.

      3) Animal in question is a predator that you can pet.

How, Sway? If I am considered food or a threat, what animal in their right mind would allow me to take a photo propped up ON its belly rather than in IT? Doesn’t Benadryl make you feel like you’re uncontrollably melting?

      4) Animal is on a leash or in a cage.

I also got bamboozled in Dubai once. I saw a beautiful desert hawk and thought it was actually a messenger type pigeon. I changed my mind once I saw it  struggling, flying in a circle from the ground to the sky, chained at the ankle. Imagine being attached to the arm of your slave owner.Trust your gut.

      5) Animal looks malnourished.

If the leopard looks like it has leprosy, it’s probably a visible sign of distress. Tension can jump start your adult acne and hair loss, right? An animal with visible skin damage and bald spots is going through it, too.

Put down your phone. Don’t be a selfie-centered, animal cruelty supporter. It’s never worth it.

For more information on how to spot animal cruelty, we found this really cool article for you. Read it and stop weeping.

Ashley Nguyen