Thailand has been accused for years of using forced monkey labor to harvest coconuts.  Animals are beaten and kept in mud.  Some companies refuse to purchase coconut milk from the country

German food kit maker HelloFresh has announced that it will stop using coconut milk from Thailand. The decision comes after a new report by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) alleges that Thailand continues to use forced labor of monkeys to harvest coconuts. They write about it The New York Times and The Guardian.

HelloFresh spokeswoman Abby Dreher said the company will stop buying coconut milk from Thailand from the end of 2023 “out of precautionary measures.”

A few years ago, large retail chains began to refuse to sell products for the collection of which the labor of bonded monkeys was used. For example, in 2020 some UK supermarket chains, including Waitrose, Ocado and Boots, declaredthat stop the sale of goods in the production of which the forced labor of monkeys is involved.

American chains, including Costco, Target, Kruger, announced the same decisions. In June 2022, the largest retail chain Walmart reported, which stops the sale of coconut milk to the Thai company Chaokoh due to allegations of using monkey labor. Axios noted that on the manufacturer’s website there is a report from the Thai division of the Bureau Veritas certification company for 2020, which stated that 64 of the manufacturer’s 817 farms were inspected. According to the document, monkeys were not used there to collect coconuts.

PETA launched an investigation into possible animal exploitation in December 2019. Animal rights activists are demanding that shops stop selling coconut milk made from coconuts harvested by monkeys.

PETA Asia visited eight Chaokoh farms in 2019. According to animal rights activists, pig-tailed macaques are forced there to collect coconuts. Several facilities have also been unearthed for training monkeys and hosting competitions for speed picking coconuts. According to animal rights activists, an adult male can collect up to a thousand nuts a day. At the same time, a person collects at best 80.

“The animals, many of which were illegally caught as young, exhibit stereotypical behaviors that indicate severe stress. Monkeys were chained to car tires or locked in cages where they could hardly turn around.” spoke PETA representatives.

PETA Experts decided check Thai farms again in 2020 following claims from producers and the Thai government that monkeys are no longer used to collect exported produce. However, representatives of the organization said that macaques are still used to collect nuts, and Chaokoh – with the support of the Thai ambassador to the United States – speaks of a flawed audit system to mislead companies and consumers about the extent of exploitation of animals.

In November 2022 PETA presented a new report following an eight-month investigation and stated that “endemic abuse” of monkeys continues, and their work in the supply chain is hidden.

Animal activists have published photos and videos of monkeys chained with iron chains. Investigators said that one of the suppliers kept the monkeys on a chain on the ground among mud and debris. The monkeys are forced to harvest coconuts for 10 years before being “retired”, according to a farm worker. The report also states that during training, they are bullied into submission. Animal advocates witnessed one of the trainers hitting the monkey, pulling it by the neck and then hitting it with a leash.

Nearly 40,000 grocery stores around the world have stopped stocking Chaokoh and other brands, according to PETA. “But instead of working to move towards monkey-free harvesting methods — like planting lower trees that make coconuts easier to harvest — farms, brokers, growers and the Thai government are working to mislead consumers.” – the publication says.

The New York Times reached out to the Thai government and Chaokoh for comment, but they did not respond to a reporter’s request.

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Deborah Acker

I write epic fantasy; self-published via KDP. Devoted dog mom to my 10 yr old GSD, Shadow! DM not a priority; slow response at best #amwriting #author.

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