For Immediate Release:
June 21, 2023
Moira Colley 202-483-7382
Cincinnati – “When will Kroger move the supply chain for its ‘Simple Truth’ coconut milk brand to a country that doesn’t use monkeys and commit to selling only coconut milk sourced from outside Thailand?” That’s the question PETA will ask tomorrow at Kroger’s virtual shareholder meeting following PETA Asia’s investigations revealing that the Thai coconut industry forces monkeys to pick coconuts, trains them through fear of punishment, cages them in isolation, and chains them for life.
PETA notes that threatened and endangered macaques are often illegally snatched from their forest homes as babies for the Thai coconut industry. Handlers put metal collars and leashes on them and may even remove their canine teeth so that 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 their systemic reliance on forced monkey labor, it’s impossible to guarantee that any coconut milk from Thailand is free of it.
“The ‘simple truth’ is that Thailand’s coconut industry is rife with the exploitation and abuse of monkeys, and Kroger knows it,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA is calling on the company to source and sell coconut milk only from countries where monkey labor isn’t used, such as India, Indonesia, and the Philippines.”
Kroger previously cut ties with Chaokoh brand coconut milk after PETA Asia’s first investigation implicated the company, but since then, it has ignored PETA’s pleas and findings about the Thai coconut industry at large. Meanwhile, many other companies have banned coconut milk from Thailand following PETA Asia’s investigations, including international meal-kit company HelloFresh and major U.K. grocery chain ASDA.
The full text of PETA’s shareholder question is below.
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 about PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit PETA.org, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.
Kroger 2023 Shareholder Meeting Question
Kroger claims to be committed to protecting the welfare of animals in its supply chain and that its suppliers are expected to uphold “freedom to express normal behavior” and “freedom from fear and distress” for animals. However, Kroger refuses to take action on the urgent issue of forced monkey labor in Thailand’s coconut industry and continues to sell coconut milk sourced from Thailand—where monkey labor is widespread—including its own Thai-sourced Simple Truth coconut milk brand. This makes the company’s animal welfare claims misleading and hollow.
PETA Asia’s three investigations into Thailand’s coconut industry reveal that macaque monkeys, including species recently deemed endangered, are routinely snatched from nature, whipped, chained, and forced into a lifetime of labor picking coconuts. Investigators found that in spite of supplier assurances, monkey labor is going on unchecked—implicating many brands, including Chaokoh, Native Forest, and Thai Kitchen. The only ethical response is to source coconuts from elsewhere until the Thai government and industry get monkeys out of the supply chain.
After PETA Asia’s first investigation implicating Chaokoh, Kroger cut ties with the brand. Since then, PETA has contacted Kroger multiple times about the nature of this animal welfare issue, but the company has simply ignored the latest investigation findings. This puts Kroger at great risk, since a rapidly growing number of companies are already responding by removing all Thai coconut milk from their shelves. My question is this: Given the rampant monkey labor throughout Thailand’s coconut industry, when will Kroger move the supply chain for its Simple Truth coconut milk brand to a country that doesn’t use monkeys and commit to selling only coconut milk sourced from outside Thailand?