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Whole Foods is still selling coconut milk from Thailand?! PETA Asia recently conducted its third investigation into Thailand’s coconut industry, in which monkeys are forced to spend long hours climbing trees and picking coconuts. And Whole Foods is contributing to this cruel exploitation.
Endangered pig-tailed macaques are often kidnapped as babies from their natural habitat. Handlers put rigid metal collars on the monkeys’ necks and use chains and leashes to choke and control them. Sometimes, their canine teeth are removed so they can’t defend themselves. After months of physical abuse and intimidation, the sensitive animals “learn” to comply. Investigative footage showed trainers striking small monkeys, dangling them by their necks, and whipping them.
Once training is complete, the forced labor begins. Monkeys are coerced into climbing tall trees to pick coconuts. They are frequently bitten by ants or stung by hornets, sometimes fatally. They sustain broken bones when they fall—or are violently yanked—from trees. When the macaques aren’t at work, they’re kept chained on barren patches of dirt or confined to tiny cages, often without access to food or water. They suffer extreme mental distress from this joyless life of captivity and abuse.
Several companies that own coconut milk brands sold by Whole Foods were named by industry workers as having sourced coconuts obtained via monkey labor. And because the industry and the Thai government lie about their systemic reliance on forced monkey labor, it’s impossible to guarantee that any coconut milk from Thailand is free of it. Whole Foods has refused to stop selling Thai coconut milk, even though it already offers canned coconut milk from countries where monkey labor isn’t used.
Never buy coconut products from Thailand. Urge Whole Foods to end its sale of Thai coconut milk.