Allegations of animal abuse are prompting major Western retailers to pull Thai coconut products from their shelves, amid accusations that the coconuts are picked by monkeys treated inhumanely. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals claim monkeys are snatched from the wild and trained to pick up to 1,000 coconuts a day. The animal rights group says pigtailed macaques are treated like “coconut-picking machines”.
PETA claims monkeys are used by farms supplying 2 of Thailand’s best known coconut milk brands: Aroy-D and Chaokoh, which are exported to many countries, including Europe and the US.
“Following PETA 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.”
The BBC reports that in the UK, major retailers Waitrose, Ocado, Co-op and Boots are pledging to stop selling some coconut products from Thailand.
“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. We don’t tolerate these practices and would remove any product from sale that is known to have used monkey labour during its production.”
The Morrisons chain said it has already removed products made with monkey-picked coconuts from its shelves. Sainsbury’s, the UK’s second largest grocery chain, told the BBC…
“We are actively reviewing our ranges and investigating this complex issue with our suppliers.”
A PETA statement says it has found 8 farms in Thailand where monkeys are forced to pick coconuts for export around the world. Male monkeys are reportedly able to pick up to 1,000 coconuts 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 treeclimbers, rope or platform systems, ladders, or they simply plant dwarf coconut trees.”
The group says it’s also discovered “monkey schools,” where the animals are trained to pick fruit, as well as ride bikes or play basketball to entertain tourists.
“The animals at these facilities, many of whom are illegally captured as babies, displayed stereotypic behaviour indicative of extreme stress. Monkeys were chained to old tyres or confined to cages that were barely large enough for them to turn around in.”
“One monkey in a cage on a lorry (truck) bed was seen frantically shaking the cage bars in a futile attempt to escape, and a screaming monkey on a rope desperately tried to run away from a handler.”
SOURCE: Bangkok Post
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