HelloFresh says no to Thai coconut milk due to forced monkey labour

PETA's activism against Thailand's monkey labour, photo by PETA Facebook.

HelloFresh, the largest meal-kit provider in the US, announced it will no longer purchase coconut milk from Thailand. This bold new move comes after animal rights group PETA accused HelloFresh of selling coconut milk from farms using forced monkey labour, Axios reported yesterday.

After a series of investigations, PETA reported that monkeys were being forced to pick heavy coconuts from tall trees for hours at a time, while attached to chains.

HelloFresh’s former coconut milk suppliers, Suree and Aroy-D, were accused of keeping monkeys chained on dirt patches with no protection from the elements. The monkeys were frequently bitten by ants and stung by hornets, the organisation said. They also broke bones after falling or being yanked out of trees, the investigation said.

Large American retailers such as Walmart, Target, and Costco have already stopped selling coconut milk from certain Thai suppliers. However, HelloFresh’s move goes one step further, banning all coconut milk exports from the country.

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According to Axios, Thailand holds approximately 80% of the market share for coconut milk in the US.

PETA launched a campaign against HelloFresh in the aftermath of its investigation, with supporters sending nearly 100,000 emails to executives. PETA is now calling on Whole Foods and other retailers to stop sourcing coconut milk from Thailand. PETA claims that there is currently no way to be certain that Thai coconut milk doesn’t come from forced monkey labour.

In a news release, PETA celebrated HelloFresh’s decision, with Corporate Projects Manager Carys Bennett saying that “leaders like HelloFresh are helping PETA push the industry away from using and abusing monkeys, who belong in nature with their families.”

Following the successful PETA campaign, HelloFresh said in a statement that it will “cease purchasing and seek new suppliers” out of an “abundance of caution.” The statement added…

“We do not tolerate any form of animal abuse in our supply chain.”

Monkey labour is used in the coconut industry in Thailand, where monkeys are trained to climb trees and harvest coconuts. The use of monkey labour in Thailand’s coconut industry has been widely criticized by animal rights activists for being cruel and inhumane. The monkeys used for labour are typically captured from the wild and forced to work long hours in the hot sun, often without proper food, water, or shelter.

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Tara Abhasakun

A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.

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