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US grocers cut ties with Thai coconut milk company after PETA reveals monkey labour

Caitlin Ashworth

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PHOTO: PETA

Grocery stores throughout the United States are cutting ties with the Thai coconut milk company Chaokoh and other Thailand coconut product suppliers following an investigation by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) into the monkey labour at Thailand coconut farms. PETA Asia claims the Thai macaques are “snatched from the wild” and treated like “coconut picking machines.”

Recently, the US grocery chains Costco, Wegmans, Walgreens, Food Lion, Giant Food and Stop & Shop have stopped selling coconut products from Thai suppliers that use monkeys to gather coconuts.

Other western retailers are also boycotting Thai coconut products derived from monkey labour in response to the PETA investigation. In the United Kingdom, the chains Waitrose, Ocado, Co-op and Boots announced earlier this year that they would stop selling some coconut products from Thailand that use monkey labour.

PETA says the social animals are “chained and driven insane.” A video of the alleged abuse shows monkeys in small cages, one shaking the cage to try to get out.

Many kind people choose coconut milk instead of cow’s milk because they don’t want to support cruelty to animals. But a disturbing PETA Asia investigation reveals that terrified young monkeys in Thailand are kept chained, abusively trained, and forced to climb trees to pick coconuts that are used to make coconut milk, meat, flour, oil, and other products.

In Thailand, it’s fairly common for those in rural areas to own a monkey to pick coconuts at local farms and sell the coconuts in the area. How the monkey is treated depends on the owner. The monkeys on a long leash run up a palm tree and drop the fresh coconuts to the ground for the owner to collect. Some monkeys get angry while others are relaxed and ride with their owner on a motorbike to and from a farm.

There’s even training schools for the monkeys, teaching the animals how to pick out a fresh coconut as well as how to get out of a knot just in case their leash gets tangled up in the palm tree. One monkey training school in Southern Thailand is well known by locals and many students go on school field trips to see how the monkeys are trained.

SOURCE: PETA

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20 Comments

20 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Ted Dunn

    Friday, November 13, 2020 at 2:03 pm

    I have read that that monkeys are not used by commercial growers. It is only a tourist attraction.
    Maybe the author could show proof of the monkeys being used by commercial interestes and sho proof of the abuse.
    I love animals and hate abuse but also do not like artciles like this that do not show ample proof.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Friday, November 13, 2020 at 9:14 pm

      You’ve read correctly. I lived in an area full of commercial coconut plantations for about ten years, and also sold the coconuts on my land, and there were no monkeys – just long bamboo poles. Not nearly as much of an attraction for tourists, but far simpler and quicker.

  2. Avatar

    Pieter Wilhelm

    Friday, November 13, 2020 at 2:24 pm

    These are the same supermarkets who sell pork from pigs who were castrated without any anesthesia. These supermarkets are often located in countries where torture in the name of religion is allowed such as slicing the throat of animals until they bleed slowly to dead during religious rituals. Double standards or Hypocrits? You decide yourself.

    • Avatar

      preesy chepuce

      Friday, November 13, 2020 at 9:19 pm

      Alas the age of empires is history, and civilised parts of the world can’t administer the barbarous parts of the world, unless they’re willing roll back many decades of legal and cultural changes to enlist public support, and fund their militaries to bring back plunder from distant shores.
      As with any bitter medicine, close your eyes when you take it, and perhaps add some sugar to distract you from the less appetising taste.

  3. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Friday, November 13, 2020 at 2:43 pm

    Well PETA is the largest animal rights organisation in the world. They should be trusted, or they would lose credibility and funding.
    I believe them.
    I accept that some monkeys are not badly treated, however some are, and if the Thai accept this they can all suffer from lose of sales to the West. This will get their attention.
    It is up to the Thais to stop the torture of monkeys.
    If western supermarkets ban this brand of coconut milk, they should also ban all coconut milk from Thailand otherwise the Thais will just sell monkey gathered coconut milk to the Thai brands that do not use monkeys.
    These brands will then sell to the West.

    • Avatar

      preesy chepuce

      Friday, November 13, 2020 at 9:21 pm

      You think Philippines coconut products are more cautiously harvested? Where would you go to find your tropical non-European delicacies procured by European standards? It’s not a criticism, but you need more than a trade agreement, you need boots on the ground to administer regulations abroad.

    • Avatar

      Michael

      Sunday, November 15, 2020 at 9:24 am

      Trust PETA?
      Hahahahaha

  4. Avatar

    Ynwaps

    Friday, November 13, 2020 at 2:48 pm

    I’d buy coconuts from well treated monkey’s, that don’t go nuts.
    Organic CoCo Monkeys – 100% natural, non vegan – but happy.

  5. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Friday, November 13, 2020 at 3:46 pm

    Ah but imagine the anguish of the monkey who picks a coconut and then is not allowed to eat the coconut?
    That would be enough to make any monkey go nuts.

    • Avatar

      preesy chepuce

      Friday, November 13, 2020 at 9:22 pm

      You could always give the monkey’s pizza, then they would be too fat to climb up the tree.

  6. Avatar

    Scuzz

    Friday, November 13, 2020 at 7:18 pm

    Well, I guess that now that all those monkeys are out of a job, they might as well be culled as they are a drain on society. Nice job PETA.

  7. Avatar

    AI

    Friday, November 13, 2020 at 11:49 pm

    Go tell this to any human who works 8 or more hours a day in some factory. If that isn’t slavery, what is? Or how about something the likes of begging? Where do you draw the line? How many millions + are born into this realm where their lives are a misery?
    Not going to mention the 25,000 people who died daily from malnutrition….(check WHO numbers online).

  8. Avatar

    James

    Saturday, November 14, 2020 at 12:25 am

    A Thai friend I know owns 12 rye of land planted with coconuts, I think there are hundreds of thousands of such small growers all over Thailand. It is just an extra income for them.

    Monkeys pick the coconuts and as far as I could tell while watching, the monkeys are adored by their owners and are treated well, the monkeys see it as more of a game.

    Of course, if large corporations are using the monkeys in a bad way then they should be prosecuted.

    What next, ban buffalo, police dogs and horses as they are not able to sign an employee’s contract.

    I wonder if this organization has the same worry about the many thousands of Americans who are killed just going to work and back by the many gun slinging Americans on the loose?

  9. Avatar

    Khun plastic

    Saturday, November 14, 2020 at 7:21 am

    Would have thought if the monkeys were genuinely mistreated once they
    Got up to the top of the palm trees they would not come down again.
    Feel peta need to do a bit more research on the subject really.

  10. Avatar

    Stone Cold Steve Austin

    Saturday, November 14, 2020 at 7:59 am

    Thailand, the Land of animal crualty. B****rds !

  11. Avatar

    Mads

    Saturday, November 14, 2020 at 2:46 pm

    I don’t get why US companies are complaining. After all 70 mio voters seem fine with the monkey business supplied by the WH and it’s white gorillas. Simple discrimination and jealousy of the smarter Thai monkeys.

  12. Avatar

    Khun plastic

    Saturday, November 14, 2020 at 3:51 pm

    You watch, they will be complaining about the treatment of elephants by there mahouts next and probably stop the import of elephant dung products.

    I think trump or the cia is probably behind it.

    Why should us monkeys and elephants be out of work when there thai cousins have an unfair advantage.

    We shall see.

  13. Avatar

    Alex

    Monday, November 16, 2020 at 5:50 pm

    Good

  14. Avatar

    JIM KELLY

    Monday, November 16, 2020 at 6:52 pm

    typically Thai!!! BACKWARD PEOPLE..BACKWARD NATION!!!

  15. Avatar

    James Pate

    Tuesday, November 17, 2020 at 2:29 am

    Some monkeys are treated well and others are not. We could say the same about every species on Earth, including humans. An overall ban on Thai coconuts is going to far. While I abhor idiotic practices like cosmetics testing on shaved animals, this is too much. PETA should prioritize and pick its battles more judiciously.

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Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

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