Costco drops Chaokoh coconut milk made with forced monkey labor out of Thailand as PETA investigation pressures US manufacturers to remain environmentally viable.
Costco is dropping coconut milk produced by major Thailand-based manufacturer Chaokoh from its inventory following accusations of forced monkey labor, according to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) officials.
Costco has become the latest in a slew of retailers that have dropped coconut products from Thai suppliers that have been accused of using ‘chained monkeys in cages’ to harvest products, following campaigning by PETA to get US corporates to drop such outlets.
‘No kind shopper wants monkeys to be chained up and treated like coconut-picking machines,’ PETA President Ingrid Newkirk announced according to USA Today. ‘Costco made the right call to reject animal exploitation.’
The Costco’s gesture follows PETA disclosing to investigators of having ‘found cruelty to monkeys on every farm, at every monkey-training facility, and in every coconut-picking contest that used monkey labor,’ officials said according to a report via FOX Business.
During the investigation, PETA investigators noted that the monkeys were ‘kept tethered, chained to old tires, or confined to cages barely larger than their bodies.’ One coconut farmer even confirmed that handlers may even pull out the animal’s teeth if and when they become terrified and try to defend themselves, the animal rights organization said.
‘Just because something is legal or accepted it doesn’t mean it’s OK,’
PETA’s investigation found chained-up monkeys trained to pick up around 400 coconuts a day, where after they are then stuffed in cages until their next shift.
‘Just because something is legal or accepted it doesn’t mean it’s OK,’ said Kent Stein, PETA’s corporate responsibility officer.
‘Until Chaokoh stops using chained monkeys as coconut-picking machines,’ Costco will no longer purchase their coconut milk, the US wholesale club outlet added.
The allegations follow parent company, Theppadungporn Coconut Co., Ltd. (TCC) outright dismissing claims of animal abuse in July.
The parent manufacturer and distributor maintains customers could trace back all processes to make sure that the products are environmentally sustainable.
The practicality and transparency of such tracings remained unclear.
‘It is not only our duty, but our integrity to take care of nature, human and wildlife, as a whole,’ Aphisak Theppadungporn, a managing director of Theppadungporn Coconut, said. ‘We have a clear-cut policy on this issue to ensure that our business will not tolerate any sign of animal and wildlife labor or abuse.’
PETA expected to continue pressuring US outlets to drop Chaokoh
he company also noted that farm inspections are also carried out ‘to verify that the contracted coconut farmers meet Chaokoh’s requirements – including zero monkey labor harvesting.’
Following the recent report on Costco, the company told USA Today that it ‘reassures that we do not engage the use of monkey labor in our coconut plantations.’
PETA officials began campaigning the wholesaler to nix the brand earlier this year after the first meeting with Costco representatives at the retailer’s headquarters in January.
Of note, Costco isn’t the only retailer to drop Costco.
The agency is now turning to Kroger to do the same.
‘PETA is calling on holdouts like Kroger to follow suit,’ Newkirk added.