Thailand’s coconut industry fueled by ‘rampant’ monkey slave labor, study shows

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is calling for a global boycott of Thai coconut milk producers after alleging the industry engaged in “rampant abuse” of monkey slave labour.

In a press release on Monday, PETA specifically called out food delivery company HelloFresh for allegedly obtaining coconut milk from suppliers in Thailand guilty of the abusive practices.

According to PETA, they conducted an eight-month survey, from December 2021 to July 2022, of the country’s coconut industry and found that monkeys are chained and forced to “spend long hours climbing tall trees and picking heavy coconuts”.

“In response to international criticism following the release of PETA Asia’s two previous studies, the Thai government and companies that make coconut products have claimed that monkeys are no longer used in making exported products, but PETA Asia’s new study has confirmed that rampant primate abuse remains unchecked – and that Thai coconut industry insiders are deliberately hiding monkey labor in their supply chain…HelloFresh still refuses to do the right thing by moving its coconut milk supply chain out of Thailand,” PETA wrote on the research webpage.

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The website also features photos and videos collected by PETA Asia researchers. Footage shows monkeys chained, beaten and dangling from their necks on coconut farms.

According to the nonprofit, they visited 57 operations, including coconut pickers, brokers, farms and monkey training schools in nine provinces across Thailand. With each monkey, they reportedly found monkeys subjected to abusive training.

“PETA researchers saw endangered monkeys shackled tightly by the neck when they were not forced to work and kept tethered in frequently flooded, trash-filled areas with little shelter from the elements,” PETA allegedly said in a statement. “One trainer was even caught on camera punching a screaming monkey, dangling him by his chain and collar and hitting him with a metal chain.”

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HelloFresh rejected PETA’s claims in a statement to CBS MoneyWatch.

“HelloFresh strongly condemns any use of monkey labor in the supply chain, and we take a tough stance by not sourcing from suppliers or selling coconut products that have been found to use monkey labor. We have written confirmation from all of our suppliers – in the US and worldwide – that they are not engaging in these practices,” the company said. reportedly mentioned.

However, PETA claims that brokers for HelloFresh’s coconut milk suppliers, Aroy-D and Suree, have admitted to using monkey labor for investigators.

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The organization said the exploited monkeys are usually abducted from their families as babies before being sold to monkey training schools that violently train them to pick coconuts.

A Suree employee claimed that according to PETA, the monkeys are exploited for more than a decade before they retire and are chained up for the rest of their lives.

“Monkeys are chained around their necks and forced to toil day in and day out, all for HelloFresh and other companies that have no conscience,” PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman said in a statement. press release. “PETA is calling on everyone, including HelloFresh, to stop buying canned coconut milk from Thailand until monkeys are no longer used and abused for profit.”

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PETA urged consumers to read the labels on coconut milk products and only buy from brands that do not source their ingredients from Thailand.

Featured image via PETA

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