A new investigation into the use of monkeys in Thailand’s coconut industry reveals pigtailed macaques confined to cramped cages, chained, and forced to work.
The footage was released by animal rights charity PETA Asia, whose investigators visited eight farms where the animals are forced to pick coconuts for export around the world, four ‘monkey schools’, and a coconut-picking competition.
PETA has shared the footage in a video narrated by Downton Abbey star Peter Egan. According to the charity, it shows ‘monkeys pacing and circling endlessly on chains…confined to cramped cages with no shelter from the rain..forced to climb trees and pick coconuts for coconut milk sold by major brands’.
The organization says the monkeys – many of whom are illegally captured as babies – ‘displayed stereotypic behavior indicative of extreme stress’. An investigator reported that if monkeys try to defend themselves, their canine teeth may be pulled out.
As a result of the investigation, numerous retailers have pledged to boycott brands reported to use monkey labor, and according to PETA, the majority will no longer buy any coconut products sourced from monkey labor in Thailand.
Ocado, Waitrose, and Co-op have ‘made the commitment to never knowingly selling any products sourced from monkey labor’, with John Gregson, the communications manager for Health & Agriculture at Waitrose & Partners, saying: “Waitrose & Partners supports PETA’s goal to end the use of monkey labor in the coconut industry. As part of our animal welfare policy we have committed to never knowingly sell any products sourced from monkey labor.”
In addition, Morrisons has suspended its supply of products from the Thai brands pending investigation. PETA is urging all retailers to drop any products sourced from monkey labor.
‘Never support the use of monkey labor’
“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 director, Elisa Allen, said.
“PETA is calling on decent people never to support the use of monkey labor by shunning coconut products from Thailand.”