Costco Drops Coconut Milk Tied to Monkey Labor After PETA Push

For Immediate Release:
October 28, 2020

Contact:
David Perle 202-483-7382

SeattleAs reported by USA Today, following PETA Asia’s stunning undercover investigation into the secret use of captive monkeys in Thailand’s coconut industry and discussions with and pressure from PETA, Costco will no longer purchase coconut milk from major Thailand-based coconut milk producer Chaokoh until it stops using chained monkeys as coconut-picking machines.

Costco—which operates 795 warehouses and boasted worldwide retail sales of more than $150 billion in 2019—previously sold Chaokoh coconut milk in bulk. PETA’s campaign included a meeting with Costco representatives at the retailer’s headquarters in January and subsequent discussions, a petition signed by tens of thousands of the group’s members and supporters, a letter to Costco from Belinda Carlisle of The Go-Go’s (who now lives in Thailand) on behalf of PETA, and a delivery of humanely picked coconuts to Costco’s president and CEO.

“No kind shopper wants monkeys to be chained up and treated like coconut-picking machines,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “Costco made the right call to reject animal exploitation, and PETA is calling on holdouts like Kroger to follow suit.”

PETA Asia’s investigators found cruelty to monkeys on every farm, at every monkey-training facility, and in every coconut-picking contest that used monkey labor. When not being forced to pick coconuts or perform in circus-style shows for tourists, the animals were kept tethered, chained to old tires, or confined to cages barely larger than their bodies. Many displayed repetitive behavior indicative of extreme mental anguish, including one monkey who chewed on one of his own limbs. One coconut farmer confirmed that when monkeys are terrified and try to defend themselves, handlers may have their teeth pulled out.

Costco joins more than 25,000 other stores—including Walgreens, Food Lion, and Stop & Shop—that have banned coconut milk brands that use monkey labor. PETA is now turning its attention to Kroger, which still does business with Chaokoh despite appeals from the group.

Photos from the investigation are available here, and broadcast-quality footage is available upon request. PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind