Monkey Labor Exposed: Big Retailers Drop Leading Coconut Milk Brands

For Immediate Release:
3 July 2020 

Monkey Labor Exposed: Big Retailers Drop Leading Coconut Milk Brands

PETA Investigation Reveals Suffering Monkeys Forced to Pick Coconuts for Suppliers to Chaokoh, Aroy-D

Bangkok — PETA’s first-ever undercover investigation of Thailand’s coconut industry has revealed that monkeys are chained, confined to cramped cages, and forced to climb trees and pick coconuts for coconut milk and other products sold by major brands such as Aroy-D and Chaokoh. Following PETA’s investigation, more than 15,000 stores will no longer purchase these brands’ products, and the will majority also no longer buy any coconut products that come from suppliers exploiting monkeys.

After hearing from PETA, Walgreens Boots Alliance has committed to not stocking Aroy-D or Chaokoh products and not knowingly selling any coconut food and drink products of Thai origin in its own brand lines. This will apply to its 9,277 Walgreens and 250 Duane Reade stores in the US as well as 2,758 Boots stores in the UK and Thailand. UK retailers Waitrose, Co-op, Ocado, and Morrisons, have all dropped Aroy-D and Chaokoh products, or have made a commitment to never sell any products sourced from monkey labour. Bed Bath & Beyond’s Cost Plus World Market, with 276 stores nationwide plus online products, has stopped buying coconut products from Chaokoh. Likewise, Ahold Delhaize and its 2,000 US store locations and distribution centres (including Giant Food, Food Lion, Stop & Shop, and Hannaford) as well as all of its 889 Albert Heijn stores in the Netherlands have committed to no longer knowingly stocking and selling any products sourced from suppliers that use monkey labour.

PETA’s investigators visited four “monkey schools”, eight farms, and one coconut-picking competition, in which chained monkeys – reportedly illegally captured as babies – were forced to climb palm trees and pick coconuts for export around the world. When not being forced to work, the animals were kept tethered, chained to old tires, or confined to cages barely larger than their bodies. The monkeys displayed stereotypic repetitive behaviour indicative of extreme stress. One monkey in a cage on a truck bed shook his cage repeatedly in a desperate, futile attempt to escape, and a screaming monkey on a rope frantically tried to run away from a handler. An investigator learned that if the animals try to defend themselves, their canine teeth may be pulled.

“These curious, highly intelligent animals are denied mental stimulation, companionship, freedom, and everything else that would make their lives worth living, all so that they can be used to gather coconuts for greedy companies,” says PETA Senior Vice President of International Campaigns Jason Baker. “Until the Thai government instates a ban on the exploitation of monkeys, PETA is calling on people around the world never to purchase coconuts or coconut products from Thailand.”

The investigation found that some companies like Harmless Harvest which use dwarf trees for coconut water don’t use monkeys.

Photos and broadcast-quality footage are available upon request. PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETAAsia.com or follow the group on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram.

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