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Monkey Business: Animal Rights Activists Protest Broward County Fair's Banana Derby Featuring Dog-Riding Capuchins

HALLANDALE BEACH (CBSMiami) – Over three weeks, roughly 80,000 people will come through the gates of the Broward County Fair. Animal rights activists, however, say something going on there is very unfair, while kids seem to love it.

Kids are going bananas for the Banana Derby at the Broward County Fair – this year's most popular attraction.

The derby combines two of man's favorite animals: monkeys and dogs.

Twice a day during the week, and three times on weekends, Gilligan and Burt duke it out.

The tiny capuchin monkeys, dressed as jockeys in satin tops, ride dogs around the bend and down the final stretch – with an occasional pit stop for a treat along the way.

Banana Derby
One of the two monkeys stopping for a mid-race treat. (CBS4)

It's a tradition unlike any you've probably ever seen. But it's also a 14-year-old tradition animal rights activists hope you never see again.

"People don't mean to be cruel. They actually think, 'Oh, they must be enjoying it,'" said Susan Hargreaves, an animal rights activist for over 40 years.

Hargreaves calls it cruel and unusual punishment. She organized a protest warning these precious primates are being exploited for money, even suggesting their teeth and claws are removed and put in poor living conditions.

This "monkey business" is not just about making a buck for Banana Derby Founder Phillip Hendricks. It's a labor of love he says lost on the protesters.

"There's nothing we can say or do to make them happy," said Hendricks.

Banana Derby
A dog-riding monkey booking it down the straight away. (CBS4)

As for living conditions at home? CBS4 was told that Gilligan likes to sleep with his dog pal, while Burt, the other monkey, prefers to sleep all alone.

Both, however, eat at the dining room table.

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