Every major U.K supermarket has now dropped two Thai coconut brands following an investigation into monkey labor, according to vegan charity PETA.
The organization recently released footage it said was taped at eight farms where the animals are forced to pick coconuts for export around the world, four ‘monkey schools’, and at a coconut-picking competition.
As a result of the footage, Waitrose, Tesco, Co-op, Boots, Ocado, Morrisons, and others pledged to ditch products that used monkey labor.
Now, PETA reports, Sainsbury’s has joined them in the two dropping brands implicated in the investigation – Aroy-D and Chaokoh.
According to Reuters, ‘an Aroy-D spokeswoman disputed the report and said British retailers did not consult it before their announcements’, and ‘Chaokoh did not reply to queries on Monday’.
“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,” PETA senior corporate liaison, Dr. Carys Bennett, said.
“PETA is grateful to British supermarkets for taking swift action to rid their shelves of these unethical products, and we urge the Thai government to take meaningful steps towards ending the vile practice of using monkeys to harvest coconuts.”
Thai commerce minister Jurin Laksanawisit claimed monkey labor is ‘almost non-existent’ following the release of the investigation, Reuters reports.
“Using monkeys for the coconut industry is almost non-existent,” Laksanawisit told reporters, adding that monkey labor had been replaced by human labor a long time ago.
He added: “But there may still be the pictures of monkey collecting coconuts for tourism on video clips, which created a misunderstanding.”
‘Makes the public angrier’
But PETA senior vice president Jason Baker has disputed Laksanawisit’s claims – and said denying the ‘extreme cruelty’ will only further inflame public emotion.
He said: “PETA’s investigation footage was captured recently on plantations and training schools.
“When the government tries to explain away extreme cruelty to monkeys, it only makes the public angrier.”