Walmart will no longer sell Chaokoh coconut milk over potential monkey cruelty links.
Chaokoh is one of Thailand’s most popular coconut milk brands. In the US, it supplies major supermarkets, but more and more are cutting ties with the company. This is because, according to PETA, it uses chained and caged monkeys to pick its coconuts.
Walmart, which received 86,000 emails requesting the removal of Chaokoh milk, isn’t alone. Kroger, Target, Wegmans, and Albertsons are among the chains that have also ended partnerships with the brand.
Back in 2019, investigators from PETA Asia visited eight coconut farms, and on each, they found monkeys being abused and exploited. They also visited monkey coconut-picking competitions and monkey training facilities, documenting similar animal welfare violations there too.
In 2020, another investigation found that not much had changed in the industry, and monkeys were still being abused.
But, also in 2020, coconut milk supplier Theppadungporn Coconut Co said it audited plantations and did not find any monkeys.
Monkeys and coconut milk
PETA’s investigations have harmed local plantations in Thailand.
Theppadungporn Coconut Co’s managing director Aphisak Theppadungporn said in 2020 that sales fell by 20 to 30 percent in the industry following the animal rights organization’s allegations.
But PETA’s executive vice president Tracy Reiman maintains that “one PETA exposé after another” confirms cruelty exists on coconut farms in Thailand.
She added: “Retailers are dropping Chaokoh left and right. Kudos to Walmart for its kind decision.”
Edwin Wiek, who founded the Wildlife Friends Foundation and works as an animal welfare advisor in Thailand, told National Geographic that he believes there are around 3,000 monkeys working on coconut farms in Thailand.
However, he also said he believes the practice is beginning to die out. He notes that just a decade and a half ago, there were probably around 15,000 monkeys working on farms.