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PETA reveals ‘abused’ monkeys used to pick coconuts in Thailand



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A boycott is in full swing amongst western retailers to pull Thai coconut products off their shelves following allegations that the coconuts have been picked by monkeys who were ‘abused’ to learn how to pick coconuts. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals director, Elisa Allen, claims the macaque monkeys are “snatched from the wild” and cruelly trained to climb up coconut trees and pick up to 1,000 coconuts a day.

“These curious, highly intelligent animals are denied psychological stimulation, companionship, freedom, and everything else that would make their lives worth living, all so that they can be used to gather coconuts.”

PETA says that the Thai pigtailed macaques are treated like “coconut-picking machines”. A new investigation into Thailand’s coconut industry reveals the monkeys are confined to cramped cages, chained, and forced to work. PETA reports that the monkeys are used by commercial farms that supply 2 of Thailand’s best-known coconut milk brands, Aroy-D and Chaokoh. Both brands are exported EU countries and the US.

In the UK, Waitrose, Ocado, Co-op and Boots have now announced they will stop selling some coconut products from Thailand. A spokesperson for Tesco told the BBC… “Our own-brand coconut milk and coconut water does not use monkey labour in its production and we don’t sell any of the branded products identified by PETA”.

“Following PETA’s Asia’s investigation, more than 15,000 stores will no longer purchase these brands’ products, with the majority also no longer buying any coconut products sourced from Thailand monkey labour.”

PETA has shared a video narrated by Downton Abbey star Peter Egan. According to PETA, the video shows ‘monkeys pacing and circling endlessly on chains… confined to cramped cages with no shelter from the rain… forced to climb trees and pick coconuts  for milk sold by major brands’.

PETE claims it had found 8 farms in Thailand where monkeys were forced to pick coconuts for export around the world. Male monkeys can pick up to 1,000 coconuts in a day. It’s thought that a human can pick about 80.

“Other coconut-growing regions, including Brazil, Colombia and Hawaii, harvest coconuts using humane methods such as tractor-mounted hydraulic elevators, willing human tree-climbers, rope or platform systems, or ladders, or they plant dwarf coconut trees.”

The group said it has uncovered “monkey schools”, where the macaque species monkeys are trained to pick coconuts, fruit, as well as ride bikes or play basketball for the entertainment of tourists.

“The animals at these facilities, many of whom are illegally captured as babies, displayed stereotypic behaviour indicative of extreme stress.”


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  1. Glenn

    Sunday, July 5, 2020 at 7:35 pm

    Ah HA! a brain fart. if one minkey can pick 1000 coconuts and 1 human can pick only 80, that’s 12.5 times the production.

    But PETA wants ethical treatment of minkeys – so, Thai govt can dictate that 12.5 out of work Thais (bartenders, bar workers, travel agencies, etc etc from CV19, ahem govt caused shut down) be hired to take the place of the overworked minkeys.

    Pay them whatever, hey, the govt can just borrow more money into existence anyways.

    Problem solved – ssshhhhh…. don’t tell anyone or A Nutty en person…

  2. Alex

    Monday, July 6, 2020 at 12:16 am

    Good job Peta. Expose the animal cruelty and abuse! And Glenn, it’s not about production, it’s about Animal Welfare… That’s difficult to understand for someone with no empathy whatsoever, so I thought I would like to point that out to you! Still, I don’t think an individual like yourself can’t even comprehend the atrocities and the cruelty which are inflicted upon to these animals. You’re the worst example for what I call a human, that’s why people like me, refer to characters like you, as inhumane… Human/Humane, get it! Furthermore, your comment makes no sense at all, it looks manic coming from a very disturbed individual…

    • Negative Man

      Tuesday, July 7, 2020 at 3:24 pm

      Honestly i don’t really care
      Somehow most of them always related to political
      I still buy theirs products

      But how about use err pig to…nevermind

  3. Sam

    Monday, July 6, 2020 at 4:04 pm

    these monkeys are not the right species. its fake news, trade wars and rich coconut competitors paying PETA donations to make fake news.. so they can steal the coconut trade

  4. Kim Marie

    Monday, July 6, 2020 at 10:24 pm

    Thank you so much for publishing this article. I will never buy products from Aroy-D and Chaokoh again as it is immoral to enslave monkeys, period.

  5. LucyP

    Monday, July 6, 2020 at 10:33 pm

    This is exploitation, plain and simple. I’m so glad PETA exposed this. Caring people will not buy coconut products that are obtained by monkeys’ toil.

  6. Michelle

    Monday, July 6, 2020 at 10:43 pm

    Way to go PETA, exposing this. It’s unthinkable the places where cruelty hides sometimes. I hope all the retailers carrying these products drop them immediately.

  7. amy donovan

    Monday, July 6, 2020 at 11:22 pm

    Thanks,PETA!I had no idea that this type of cruelty existed. Animals should be left alone, not snatched from their natural habitats, imprisoned, abused, and put to work.

  8. man

    Saturday, July 11, 2020 at 11:28 am

    Ok, this might create a bit of controversy but I feel prompted to respond to this article because I think that -amongst others things- this is a clear example of cultural colonization.

    Few points:

    I’ve lived in Thailand for over 5 years now and I’ve seen part of the monkey’s coconut reality. Refering to the ‘animal abuse’, I would like to say that like anything else in this world, you can find all kind of cases from bad to good and anything in between.

    I’ve personally meet coconut monkey’s owners who had an incredibly strong bond with their animals and you could see that the owner loved his monkey so much. After all, his monkey was his enterprise, his source of income and it was treated as a spoiled pet. Of course, he still needed to keep the monkey on a chain most of the time but….don’t we also keep dogs chained?

    I’ve also seen monkey’s chained to coconut trucks in the roads of Koh Samui as they trasport the coconuts from the farm to the market, etc. However, in the same roads, I’ve also seen people driving motorbike with no helmet (often more than 2 people and babies in the motorbike) and a whole bunch of other crazy stuff.

    I think PETA is sharing a very miopic view of this reality. I wonder if they are interested in looking deeper into the situation? They would then see that these monkeys are also supporting the lives of many poor local families in rural areas in Thailand. They are feeding families! No every monkey’s owner is abusing their animal that is for sure.

    I wonder…..Would it be better to have the coconut owners or undocumented or irregular migrant workers to climb up the coconut trees? I don’t think so.

    Should we stop consuming coconut? I certainly wont.

    Being said this:

    I don’t think hurting monkeys should be allowed and there should be regulations around this industry too. However, there are so many factors involved and before pointing fingers or writing this kind of misleading and highly sensitive content, we should get a bigger perspective of the whole picture!

    • Just Passing

      Thursday, August 6, 2020 at 3:18 pm

      @ man: agreed, you made a couple of valid points and to some extent the points I agree with (Family livelihoods, not all farmers are animal abusers) However, this particular investigation, upon this article has made its claims, has found and presented evidence that would draw a clear inference of animal abuse, referring to the farms in question.
      A dog on a chain analogy, probably not the best choice to support your argument. (city bylaws, provincial laws etc) many cases no choice. Monkeys don’t come under the same set of laws.
      Given there are farms with good and bad manufacturing policies, selling their product to the 2 brands named. By boycotting the brands as PETA is promoting, is pressuring the Big Brands to regulate and monitor their sources… (Sweat shops+brands= Human Trafficking)

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