Thai coconuts have made big news recently. But not in a good way.
It’s come to light that some farmers in Thailand are using monkeys to harvest these fruits. PETA investigated these animals’ living conditions. This animal organisation made some disturbing discoveries.
“PETA Asia investigators visited eight farms,” reads the PETA website. ‘Monkeys are forced to pick coconuts.” These farms supply Thailand’s major coconut milk producers, Aroy-D and Chaokoh. “At each one, they documented that these … animals were abused and exploited.”
‘Monkey slave labour’
This led to an uproar. That included a tweeted plea from Carrie Symonds, British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson’s fiancée. She urged supermarkets in that country to not sell any products that ‘use monkey slave labour’.
Here in the Netherlands, Albert Heijn has also pledged to “stop knowingly stocking and selling any products obtained from suppliers that use monkey labour.” A spokesman for the supermarket chain says that, after talks with PETA, it was decided to stop stocking Aroy-D. The coconut products will be taken off the shelves ‘within a few weeks’. This is according to local media reports.
However, it’s been reported in several international news outlets that Thai Commerce Minister, Jurin Laksanawisit, rejected the allegations. He says coconut harvesting by monkeys isn’t a significant part of the industry. The animals are mostly a tourist attraction and aren’t harmed, the minster reportedly says.
“But there may still be video clips of monkey collecting coconuts for tourism. That’s created a misunderstanding,” Jurin’s quoted as saying in another article.
Coconuts are big business in Thailand. Last year, the country exported more than €350 million’s worth of coconut milk across the globe. Now, according to PETA, more than 150,000 shops worldwide have said they’ll stop selling some of these products.
Report compiled by Melinda Walraven