‘These curious, highly intelligent animals are denied psychological stimulation, companionship, freedom so that they can be used to gather coconuts.’
Major supermarket chains including Asda, Waitrose, Ocado, Co-op, Morrisons, and Boots have discontinued Thai coconut-based items from nearly 15,000 stores across the UK based on an investigation highlighting cruelty on certain coconut picking farms in Thailand.
The decision followed a recent exposé by People For The Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which revealed how monkeys are exploited and forced to become “coconut-picking machines” collecting up to 1,000 coconuts daily after being snatched from the wild by the said farms.
PETA identified eight farms in Thailand that employed pigtailed macaque monkey as laborers to farm coconuts, with these products including coconut milk, oil, water and yogurt being shipped worldwide.
Confirming the news in a statement PETA said: “Following PETA’s 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 Thailand coconut industry prefers animal labour over a human worker since monkeys can collect ten times more coconuts per day raking in more profits for the owners. According to local farmers while a healthy male monkey can harvest 1,600 coconuts per day, a female monkey can bring in 600. A human on the other hand manages 80 on an average per day.
The animal charity revealed that once caught the monkeys undergo rigorous training in confined facilities not only to pick fruit, but also to perform tricks for tourists’ entertainment.
“These curious, highly intelligent animals are denied psychological stimulation, companionship, freedom, and everything else that would make their lives worth living, all so that they can be used to gather coconuts,” said PETA director Elisa Allen in a statement.
Describing the conditions seen in “monkey schools”, PETA said: “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 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.”
“PETA is calling on decent people never to support the use of monkey labour by shunning coconut products from Thailand.”
In response to the video, UK’s biggest retailer ASDA, with over 630 supermarkets and sales of over £21.6 billion said in a statement: “We expect our suppliers to uphold the highest production standards at all times and we will not tolerate any form of animal abuse in our supply chain.”
“As part of our animal welfare policy, we have committed to never knowingly sell any products sourced from monkey labour,” declared Waitrose in a statement to BBC.
“As an ethical retailer, we do not permit the use of monkey labour to source ingredients for our products,” said Co-op spokesperson.
While Sainsbury’s said it was investigating the issue, Tesco clarified: “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.”
- Read: Chained monkeys forced to juggle fire and jump through spiked hoops in ‘humiliating’ shows for tourists in Thailand
Share this story to reveal the atrocities on monkeys in Thailand’s coconut picking farms.
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