Jewel-Osco Drops Coconut Milk Tied to Monkey Labor After PETA Push

For Immediate Release:
March 29, 2022

Contact:
Nicole Meyer 202-483-7382

Itasca, Ill. – After two PETA Asia undercover investigations revealed the use of chained and caged monkeys in Thailand’s coconut-picking industry and after receiving more than 200,000 e-mails from PETA supporters, locally based grocery chain Jewel-Osco has ended the sale of coconut milk from major producer Chaokoh. The decision follows a vigorous campaign by PETA, which included delivering humanely picked coconuts to the president and other executives of Jewel-Osco’s parent company, Albertsons Companies Inc.; creating a spoof company logo; and enlisting the help of Belinda Carlisle of The Go-Go’s, who lives in Thailand. Albertsons cut ties with Chaokoh last year—and now the company has confirmed that every one of its subsidiaries has followed suit.

“A life as a chained-up coconut-picking machine is no life at all for a monkey, who needs to play, eat, and explore with family members,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “Since PETA exposés have confirmed cover-ups of cruelty on coconut farms, no company with a conscience can keep supporting Chaokoh, and Jewel-Osco should be commended for taking action to help monkeys.”

PETA Asia’s first investigation 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. After a global outcry, the coconut industry claimed to have changed this practice—but PETA Asia’s second investigation found that producers were still using monkey labor and that industry insiders were discussing how farms conceal this practice by simply hiding monkeys until auditors leave or by hiring contractors to bring in monkeys only during harvest time.

Jewel-Osco joins Performance Food Group and more than 33,000 stores—including those owned by chains Publix, Wegmans, Target, Food Lion, and Stop & Shop in addition to Albertsons—that have cut ties with coconut milk brands that use coconuts picked by monkeys. PETA is now turning its attention to other retailers that still do business with Chaokoh, including 99 Ranch Market.

Photos from the most recent 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 or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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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