PETA Asia’s first-ever undercover investigation into the use of monkeys in Thailand’s coconut industry reveals that monkeys paced and circled endlessly on chains, were confined to cramped cages with no shelter from the rain, and were forced to climb trees and pick coconuts for coconut milk sold by major brands like Chaokoh (also sold as TCC in Australia) and Aroy-D. Several international retailers have taken action: Bed Bath & Beyond’s Cost Plus World Market has stopped buying coconut products from Chaokoh and Aroy-D. Ahold Delhaize and its brands, including Giant Food, Food Lion, Stop & Shop, and Hannaford in the US as well as Albert Heijn in the Netherlands, have committed to cease knowingly stocking and selling any products from suppliers that use monkey labour. In the UK, Ocado has also made this commitment, and now, PETA is reaching out to stores in Australia urging them to drop coconut products or purchasing plans involving monkey labour immediately.
In July 2019, PETA Asia’s investigators visited eight farms where monkeys are forced to pick coconuts for export around the world as well as four “monkey schools” and a coconut-picking competition. 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 truck 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. An investigator learned that if monkeys try to defend themselves, their canine teeth may be pulled out.
“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,” says PETA spokesperson Emily Rice. “PETA is calling on decent people never to support the use of captive monkeys by shunning coconut products from Thailand.”
PETA Asia’s video footage is available here, and broadcast-quality footage is available upon request. The group opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org.au.