Protesters Arrested, Close Down Whole Foods Over Forced Monkey Labor

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3 min read

On June 14, six PETA members wearing monkey masks were arrested inside a Whole Foods’ store in Washington, D.C., while holding a sit-in to protest the company’s sale of coconut milk from Thailand. PETA Asia investigations have revealed that monkeys in Thailand are caged, kept in isolation, chained for life, and trained via fear of punishment to pick coconuts.

police break up PETA protest

The group—five women and one man—joined more than 20 other protesters. They dumped wheelbarrows full of humanely picked coconuts outside before moving inside and sitting on checkout counters, holding posters and chanting, “Whole Foods Stop Abusing Monkeys,” for more than an hour before being handcuffed by police officers and carried out of the store. Each was charged with unlawful entry.

PETA member arrested outside Whole Foods store in Washington, D.C.

Following the protest, the store was closed for the rest of the day.


We’re not monkeying around, @Whole Foods Market!   Six PETA supporters were arrested in #WashingtonDC today while protesting Whole Food’s support of forced monkey labor in the Thai coconut industry!

♬ original sound – PETA

Here are more photos of PETA’s protest at a D.C. Whole Foods:

PETA dumps coconuts outside Whole Foods

PETA protests Whole Foods over sale of coconut milk products from Thailand

whole foods coconut protest in D.C.

PETA protest at Whole Foods

PETA supported carried away by police

The Problem With Coconut Milk From Thailand

Many monkeys used in Thailand’s coconut-picking industry are abducted from their forest homes as babies. Handlers put metal collars and leashes on them and sometimes remove their canine teeth so they can’t defend themselves. PETA Asia’s investigative footage shows trainers striking them, dangling them by their necks, and whipping them. Because the industry and the Thai government lie about and deceive consumers about their systemic reliance on monkey labor, it’s impossible to guarantee that any coconut milk from Thailand is cruelty-free.

PETA supporter holds large poster showing a monkey exploited in the production of coconut milk in Thailand

Whole Foods knows that Thailand’s forced monkey labor is a damnable business, yet it continues to sell coconut products from the country. PETA is calling on Whole Foods to take a whole lot of cruelty off its shelves by selling canned coconut milk only from countries like India, Indonesia, and the Philippines, where monkey labor isn’t used.

After hearing from PETA, HelloFresh made the conscientious decision to no longer obtain coconut milk from Thailand.

Help Put an End to Forced Monkey Labor in the Thai Coconut Industry

Always check the labels on coconut milk products, and whether it’s in a can, a box, or other packaging, if it reads, “Product of Thailand,” leave the item on the shelf.

Please urge Whole Foods to stop supporting this cruel industry by refusing to sell coconut milk from Thailand.

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