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Were monkeys forced to pick your coconuts?
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 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.
Chained and Driven Insane
PETA investigators visited eight farms where monkeys are forced to pick coconuts—including those for Thailand’s major coconut milk producers, Aroy-D and Chaokoh—as well as several monkey-training facilities and a coconut-picking competition. At each one, they documented that these sensitive animals were abused and exploited. After being alerted to the situation, 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 U.S. as well as 2,758 Boots stores in the U.K. and Thailand. U.K. retailers Waitrose, Co-op, Ocado, Morrisons, Sainsbury's, and ASDA, have all dropped Aroy-D and Chaokoh products, or have made a commitment to never sell any products sourced from monkey labor. 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 U.S. store locations and distribution centers (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 labor.
Following PETA’s investigation, more than 25,000 stores will no longer purchase these brands’ products, with the majority also no longer buying any coconut products sourced from Thailand monkey labor.
Many monkeys are reportedly illegally abducted from their families and homes when they’re just babies. They’re fitted with rigid metal collars and kept chained or tethered for extended periods.
Denied the freedom to move around, socialize with others, or do anything else that is important to them, these intelligent animals slowly lose their minds. Driven to desperation, they pace and circle endlessly on the barren, trash-strewn patches of dirt where they’re chained.
Cruelly Trained and Teeth Pulled Out
The terrified young monkeys are forced to perform frustrating and difficult tasks, such as twisting heavy coconuts until they fall off the trees from a great height. An investigator learned that if monkeys try to defend themselves, their canine teeth may be pulled. To earn more money off these animals, some trainers also force them to participate in circus-style shows in which they entertain paying visitors by riding bicycles, shooting basketballs, and performing other confusing and demeaning tricks.
An investigator saw monkeys being transported in cramped cages that were barely large enough for them to turn around in and others left in locked cages in the back of a pickup truck, with no shelter from the driving rain. One monkey was seen frantically shaking the cage bars in a vain attempt to escape.
Tethered by the neck with a metal collar, the monkeys are forced to climb up and down trees and collect up to 1,000 coconuts per day.
No Tropical Paradise
A PETA investigator was told by a worker at one farm that it supplies coconuts to brands Aroy-D and Chaokoh both of which are sold in major stores around the world. So if you purchase Aroy-D or Chaokoh products, you may inadvertently be supporting this cruelty.
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. Studies have shown that these methods are superior to using monkeys, who can’t distinguish between ripe and unripe fruit, and the ripe coconuts get bruised when the monkeys drop them to the ground. Coconut water typically comes from coconuts grown on dwarf trees, including the Nam Hom variety, and harvesting them doesn't involve monkey labor—but this isn't always the case. PETA has confirmed that Harmless Harvest is among the companies that don't use monkey labor for coconut water.
PETA invites any Thailand-based coconut companies to provide evidence that they don’t use forced monkey labor.
Please, make sure that your coconut products don’t come from any companies that exploit monkeys. Sign below to urge Aroy-D and Chaokoh to stop supporting this cruel industry by obtaining their coconuts from companies that don’t use monkeys.
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