Monkey Waiters: Burning Ethical Issue?

And now, on the lighter side of business ethics… Monkey waiters. Yes, monkey waiters. This would make a great first case-study in a spoof ‘textbook’ on business ethics.

Pictured: The amazing monkey waiters that serve tables in a Japanese restaurant

A Japanese restaurant has changed the face of customer service by employing two monkeys to help with the table service.

The Kayabukiya tavern, a traditional ‘sake house’ north of Tokyo has employed a pair of uniformed Japanese macaque called Yat-chan and Fuku-chan to serve patrons.

Twelve-year-old Yat-chan is the crowd-pleaser as he moves quickly between tables taking customer drink orders.

So, what would be the burning issue, here?
Denying jobs to low-skilled humans by “outsourcing” to another species?
Forced animal labour?
Imposition of a dress code, contrary to the standards of the species?
Or, as some would have it, fostering the beginnings of the Great Monkey Uprising?

Laugh all you want. You know someone, somewhere, thinks there really is an ethical issue here.

Thanks to my pal Andrew Potter for the link.

4 comments so far

  1. Andrew on

    Provided they are paid minimum wages, are afforded appropriate protections in relation to occupational health and safety, and are granted the right to union representation (in either human or monkey form), I don’t see a problem.Payment in the form of bananas should also be allowed.

  2. Debra Greenfield on

    well of course there’s an ethical issue….perhaps if monkey’s are “used” in this way, the next step is using mentally challenged human beings…”using” “others” for amusement, forced labor, etc. is always unethical…this is extremely similar to Nazi practices and sometimes a slippery slope is a truly fast track…the mocking attitude revealed by someone involved in ethics is most depressing..Debra Greenfield, JDUCLA Center for Society and Genetics

  3. Chris MacDonald on

    Debra:I’m sure you didn’t mean to imply that mentally challenged human being shouldn’t have *jobs*, though some readers could be forgiven for thinking that’s what you meant. (Presumably you meant forced labour, though I see no indication that the monkey waiters are forced to do anything.)But to claim that there’s a parallel between monkey waiters and Nazi atrocities is pretty shocking. Not all slopes are slippery slopes. And there are *plenty* of morally-significant stopping points between having a dog fetch a stick, having a monkey fetch a beer, and the Nazi labour camps.See also: < HREF="" REL="nofollow">Reductio ad Hitlerum<>

  4. […] Monkey Waiters: Burning Ethical Issue?  (Oct 9, 2008) […]

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