Monkeys used as coconut-picking machines

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Coconut monkey

NEWS-VIEWS: PETA allege that monkeys in Thailand are forced to climb trees to pick coconuts for milk which is sold by brands such as Chaokoh. When the monkeys are not working PETA report that they are confined to cramped cages with no shelter from the rain and continuously chained. The monkeys pace and circle which to me is a sign of stress and distress. I have read about monkeys on chains developing mental health issues which is unsurprising (see disturbing video below).

Coconut monkey

Macaque helping trainer collect fallen coconuts. Surat Thani, Thailand. Photo: World Animals Voice.

Liverpool Football Club players, Andy Robertson and Roberto Firmino, have appeared in a video promoting Chaokoh coconut milk. The monkeys are in effect being used as slave labour. They are pigtailed macaques. As I understand it, Carrie Symonds has been campaigning to stop this animal abuse and she welcomes the decision by several supermarkets to stop selling the same brand of coconut milk which are also in response to PETA’s investigation.

The supermarkets who have pulled the brand are Waitrose, Co-op, Boots and Ocado. They have committed to not selling products acquired with monkey labour. Earlier, Morrisons had made the same decision. Ms Symonds wants all supermarkets to follow.

PETA had contacted Liverpool FC requesting that they terminate the club’s sponsorship deal with Chaokoh. They investigated and contacted the business behind the brand namely Theppadungporn Coconut Co..

The Thai company said that they were investigating the independent farms which supplied them with coconuts with the intention of stopping the use of monkey slave labour.

PETA were unsatisfied and argued that the news was bad publicity for Liverpool FC. The club was in partnership with the business between 2016 until termination this year. Surprisingly, they say that the termination of the arrangement was not due to PETA’s campaign but because the two-year deal was scheduled to end anyway. The club declined to comment.

PETA has called upon the Thai government to take steps to end the practice of monkey slave labour to harvest coconuts.

Monkeys are intelligent animals who require psychological stimulation, companionship and freedom and all the normal environmental situations which allows them to express the natural desires and motivations.

Chaokoh said that their suppliers had “signed a memorandum of understanding to pledge for zero monkey coconut-picking in their farms”. They do not support the practice. They are a family business which has been in the business of exporting coconut products for more than forty years they said and they are thankful that people care about this issue.

Chaokoh coconut milk can

Chaokoh coconut milk can. Photo: public domain.

Comment: Chaokoh are taking up a rearguard action to try and prevent damage to their business. In my view they knew exactly what was going on and condoned it by continuing to purchase products from their suppliers. It is probably an accepted and well-known practice in Thailand to employ monkeys in this way. There’s also probably widespread abuse of monkeys by chaining them up. Monkeys should not be chained up like this. It is a practice endorsed and employed by ignorant people. I’m sorry to say that but that is the reason why it happens.

Over ninety percent of Thai people are Buddhists. Buddhism is a religion which is kind to animals. They regard them as sentient beings. They believe in reincarnation so that animals can be reincarnated as humans. You would have thought that the religion would have supported a more sympathetic treatment of animals such as macaque monkeys.