Waitrose, a company of British supermarkets, has stopped selling coconut products from Thailand after they found out that the harvested fruit came from monkey slavery.
The supermarket chain has sworn not to sell products made with animal labor after an investigation revealed that popular brands were abusing primates.
Animal rights organization Peta Asia's investigation found that Thai farms were training monkeys to pick coconuts from trees. Sometimes, the animals were forced to carry items heavier than their own body weight.
According to John Gregson, the communications manager for health and agriculture at Waitrose and Partners, Waitrose and Partners supports PETA's goal to end the use of monkey slavery and labor in the coconut industry.
Furthermore, the company said it would thoroughly review their coconut products to make sure they are not associated with animal labor and cruelty.
Other companies such as Boots, the Co-op, and Ocado have also vowed not to sell products that use monkey slavery. Moreover, Morrisons has also removed the said Thai products from its shelves.
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Did a Monkey Pick Your Coconuts?
Animal rights organizations have been vocal against the farms which use pigtailed macaques to harvest coconuts.
Peta has called on customers to purchase cruelty-free coconut oil. Furthermore, they advised consumers to avoid buying coconut products from Thailand so as not to encourage the use of enslaved monkeys at farms.
According to Elisa Allen, the Peta director, the highly intelligent animals are denied freedom, psychological stimulation, companionship, and other aspects that would make their lives worth living.
The animal rights organization's investigation found farms chaining monkeys to tires and handlers yanking out the monkeys' teeth to avoid being bitten.
Some coconut farms prize the monkeys for their work as they have found that an adult male pigtailed macaque is capable of harvesting 1,600 coconuts a day, compared to a human who could just do 80.
Sterilization of Monkeys in Thailand
The news of monkey slavery comes after Thailand sterilized hundreds of monkeys in a city famous for its macaque population. As the coronavirus pandemic left them hungry with no tourists to feed them, the monkeys became aggressive and were often seen wrestling for food from terrified residents.
Since April 4, the country has closed its borders to control the coronavirus infection. As a result, the macaques did not adjust favorably to the abating food supplies.
Lopburi's local authorities have begun catching, sedating, and sterilizing the monkeys, intending to sterilize at least 500 to slow the growth of the primates' population.
Officials use fruit to lure the animals into cages. After this, vets sedate and shave them to prep them for the procedure. Finally, the monkeys are tattooed with a unique reference number and then placed on their backs for the tubal ligation or vasectomy.
Each monkey spends one night under the veterinarian's close watch before being released back into the streets. According to Supakarn Kaewchot, a government veterinarian, the sterilization aimed to mitigate the species' urban growth. She adds that they are not doing it in monkeys in the wild, but only in those in the urban areas.