Chained ‘Monkeys’ to ‘Scream’ Outside Whole Foods HQ Over Ties to Forced Labor

For Immediate Release:
May 20, 2024

Sara Groves 202-483-7382

Austin, Texas

Whole Foods will be dealing with a whole lot of monkey business on Wednesday, when PETA “monkeys” chained to giant cans of Thai coconut milk will blast real monkeys’ screams outside the company’s flagship store and headquarters in Austin to warn potential customers about the chain’s continued sale of coconut milk from Thailand—even though its executives know that the country’s coconut industry is driven by the forced labor of endangered pig-tailed macaques. Simultaneously, a PETA supporter will grill Amazon, Whole Foods’ parent company, at its shareholder meeting over the grocery giant’s bizarre refusal to simply stop sourcing and selling coconut milk from Thailand.

When: Wednesday, May 22, 12 noon

Where: Whole Foods Market, 525 N. Lamar Blvd., Austin

spoof of a can of coconut milk with text that read Whole Foods Stop Selling Thai Coconut Milk - End Forced Monkey Labor
Credit: PETA

“Whole Foods has known for years about the rampant abuse and suffering of monkeys chained and forced to pick coconuts in Thailand and how assurances from producers are meaningless, yet it continues to prop up the Thai coconut industry,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA is calling on Whole Foods to stop ignoring this egregious cruelty to animals and get Thai coconut milk off its shelves.”

Workers in Thailand’s coconut industry often illegally snatch monkeys from their forest homes as babies, pull out their canine teeth to leave them defenseless, fit them with metal collars, chain them, whip them, and force them to climb trees to pick heavy coconuts.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—points out that Every Animal Is Someone and offers free Empathy Kits for people who need a lesson in kindness. For more information, please visit or follow the group on X, Facebook, or Instagram.

PETA’s shareholder question follows.

Despite Whole Foods’ claims, suppliers’ reassurances that coconut milk from Thailand is “monkey-free” are meaningless. Audits rely on the word of industry insiders. Coconut pickers and brokers lie about their use of cruel monkey labor, even when companies ask them to stop using monkeys due to international outrage. PETA found monkey labor in Whole Foods supply chain and that of third-party brands you sell. Why won’t you drop Thai coconut milk, knowing that monkeys continue to suffer for it?

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