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Milking the Monster

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A foul beast from the depths of the abyss terrorizes a small peasant village. It devours their livestock, it kidnaps their children, and the less said about what it does to their women, the better. A band of purehearted heroes hears of their plight and sets off to slay the monster. The town mayor meets them at the gates to greet them... and insist that they leave immediately.

"Kill the beast?" he laughs. "Why would we ever want to do that? Ever since he showed up, the king has paid us more in aid money than we'd ever get through farming! Now turn around and head home, before I have to send the mob after you with Torches and Pitchforks!"

Sometimes it happens: the monster makes money, and its purported "victims" — or a single shrewd (and often heartless) member of the public — will put up with it, or even harness it for the sake of the benefits it brings, despite the harm it causes.

Compare Monster Protection Racket, in which the profiteer has a more active role in the matter, and Monster Organ Trafficking, when the profit doesn't come from the monster's mere presence but from a substance generated from the monster. See also Merchandising the Monster.


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     Anime & Manga 

     Comic Books 
  • The Pepper Lake Monster, an Eerie short by horror maestro Berni Wrightson, has an aspiring (crypto)zoologist hunting for the titular Stock Ness Monster and ultimately succeeding... only for the locals to immediately kill him and set the tourist-attracting beast free. It's implied he's far from the first one to suffer this fate.note 
  • Fables: Jack of Fables combines this with the Masquerade, the Fables formerly under Mr. Revises "care" have been stuck at a diner for years and decided to turn it into a theme park based off of their presence there. It pays the bills if nothing else.
  • In the epilogue of The Walking Dead, a character, who was born too late to remember a time when zombies were a threat, has taken to exhibiting them as part of a traveling show. An older character, who remembers the horror, kills them.

     Fan Works 
  • I Woke Up As a Dungeon, Now What?: Quite aside from the loot and drops that can be harvested from within them, dungeons also release purified mana back into the environment, allowing for the growth of plants and the formation of ecosystems. When Kamella's tribe discover Taylor, they immediately set up atop her entrance to take advantage of the oasis of life she creates.

     Films — Live-Action 
  • In the finale of Ernest Scared Stupid, Chuck and Bobby take photos of the rampaging trolls in the hope of making a fortune off the merchandise. Then a troll grabs the camera and eats the film.
  • Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019): The Creative Closing Credits makes mention that on top of the now-awakened Titans' ecosphere-revitalizing effects after Godzilla has gotten them in line, their presence is also economically useful in a number of ways. Tourists are flocking to Mount Fiji to see Rodan since he calmed down and nested there, Titan waste is being contemplated as a green fuel source, and if you look closely at the articles' small text, it mentions the giant creatures and the restored ecosystems are likely to create an ecotourism boom that could actually cover the full expenses of repairing the apocalyptic destruction done to cities around the world.
  • In Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings, Mayor Bubba tries to stop the sheriff from killing Pumpkinhead because he thinks having an unstoppable demon rampaging around the town would be good for tourism. Though he at least says that he doesn't believe in demons and seems under the impression that they're just dealing with some sort of wild animal, which he presumably thinks they could put down in case it became too dangerous.

  • Inverted in American Gods with Hinzelmann: he's the monster (a kobold) who has to arrange for the death of a child every year as a sacrifice to himself to stay alive, but it still makes him a Serial Killer in order to prevent Lakeside from becoming a Dying Town like so many Midwestern places. He's not exactly overjoyed at the situation, given that he tries and succeeds to commit Suicide by Cop.
  • In the novel Star Surgeon by James White, the Monitor Corps goes to help a planet where disease runs rampant. Dr. Conway figures out that the reason the planet has so much disfiguring disease is that the Empire that controls it is using it to get aid donations from other planets and is pocketing the donations. The Empire is also introducing new disease to keep the cash coming in.
  • In The Icewind Dale Trilogy, Drizzt goes to steal a magical mask from the lair of a banshee and is surprised when the local townsfolk ask him not to kill her. They explain that her presence provides some protection from orcs and other monsters, is good for tourism, and she mostly just wants to be left alone, only attacking people who invade her lair.
  • One long-ago Choose Your Own Adventure book, The Dragons Ransom, features young heroes' quest for treasure to offer as tribute to the local dragon. Nobody in their village is sure what would happen if they didn't present it with tribute - the arrangement has stood for so long that nobody remembers how it started, and the creature doesn't speak to the people who drop off its annual payoff - but they'd rather have the dragon there to scare off potential enemy armies and other monsters than risk snubbing it.
  • The titular character of Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency is a frequent perpetrator of this. His philosophy as a detective is that everything is interconnected, therefore literally any expense can be written off as related to his current investigation. Not that the people who hire him ever pay him, but it doesn't stop him from taking vacations to the Caribbean and charging them to his office. (Unfortunately for him, he's actually accurate about this idea and ends up unwillingly solving many actual problems when he only wanted Vacation, Dear Boy.)
  • In The Witcher short stories, Gerald complains that as monster habitats get smaller, he can't get as much work, since some of the monsters have adapted to living with humans pretty well. One local lord allows a troll to live under a bridge and take tolls for passing, since it's cheaper than hiring people to do the same thing.

     Live Action TV 
  • Married... with Children: In the season 2 opener, the Bundys vacation to a Florida town with only two tourist attractions: a man who once met Andy Griffith, and an axe-murdering serial killer. Naturally, they're the same man, so the townsfolk are completely unwilling to let him be arrested - they could withstand losing one, but not both.

     Video Games 
  • In Baldur's Gate, you are admonished to not kill more than five ankhegs in the area south of Baldur's Gate by a local, the reason being that ankheg tunnels areate the soil and improve crop yields by about 5%.
  • In Pikuniku, in the town right outside the cave you emerge out of, there's a store that sells merchandise of the supposed monster in the cave. The guy running the store tells you that now that the existence of the cave monster is debunked, you've ruined his business.

     Web Comics 
  • A hydra is turned into a source of all-you-can-eat meat in this comic of The Order of the Stick. The goblin responsible becomes fantastically wealthy, pun fully intended.

     Web Original 
  • SCP Foundation: SCP-3583 resembles a school bus that shows up at the end of every school day and requires a certain number of children to board it, mentally compelling them to do so if necessary, then transports them through hellish alternate versions of the town. Or if enough adults board it first takes them on a tour around the future site of a historical mass casualty event, such as visiting Pompeii before the eruption. When agents get around to checking out the reports they discover that they no longer want it gone. It does drive its passengers home and lets them off (physically) unharmed, and for a poor public school a free self-driving bus is worth putting up with some quirks.
    Principal: With what we've saved since this thing showed up, we were able to hire a music teacher.

     Western Animation