Content warning: This article contains a video documenting, and descriptions of, animal abuse.
Many people choose to use coconut milk as a substitute for cow’s milk because they don’t want to support cruelty to animals.
For many vegans, who don’t consume animal products, it’s a staple in their diets.
It’s not enough just to substitute one thing for another these days. To be completely conscious of how your consumption decisions are impacting the environment, animals, and people, a little research goes a long way.
PETA Asia recently conducted an investigation into farms in Thailand where coconuts are harvested, and what they found there is heartbreaking.
Investigators visited eight farms where monkeys are forced to pick coconuts—including those for Thailand’s major coconut milk producers, Aroy-D and Chaokoh—as well as several monkey-training facilities and a coconut-picking competition.
At each one, they documented that these sensitive animals were abused and exploited.
Some monkeys are illegally taken from their mothers when they’re babies. They’re fitted with metal collars and kept chained or tethered for extended periods.
Denied the freedom to move around, socialize with others, or do anything else that is important to them, these intelligent animals slowly lose their minds. Driven to desperation, they pace and circle endlessly on the barren, trash-strewn patches of dirt where they’re chained.
The monkeys have their teeth removed and are often forced to carry heavy objects, sometimes harvesting up to 1 000 coconuts a day. When they’re not harvesting coconuts, some trainers force them to perform in circus-style shows for paying visitors.
In response to these findings, a number of stores around the world have discontinued the sale of products made using coconuts from Thailand.
Cost Plus World Market made the decision to stop selling the Chaokoh brand of coconut milk, and Ahold Delhaize and its family of brands (including Giant Food, Food Lion, Stop & Shop, and Hannaford in the U.S. as well as Albert Heijn in the Netherlands), some of which had been selling Aroy-D and Chaokoh brand coconut milk, have pledged to stop knowingly stocking and selling any products obtained from suppliers that use monkey labor.
PETA is calling on everyone to avoid coconut milk and other coconut products made in Thailand, in an attempt to stop the abuse and exploitation of monkeys.
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