Monkey Abuse for Whole Foods Products Prompts PETA Action at Shareholder Meeting

For Immediate Release:
May 22, 2023

Nicole Meyer 202-483-7382

Seattle – At Amazon’s shareholder meeting on Wednesday, PETA will submit a statement challenging the company’s subsidiary Whole Foods’ continued sale of Thai coconut milk—including through its own 365 by Whole Foods Market brand—even after learning of PETA Asia’s investigations revealing that monkeys are forced to pick coconuts in Thailand and are trained through fear of punishment, caged in isolation, and chained for life.

When:    Wednesday, May 24, 8:30 a.m.

Where:    Outside Amazon headquarters, 2021 Seventh Ave., Seattle

At the same time, outside Amazon headquarters, a “monkey” in prison garb chained to a large can of 365 by Whole Foods Market coconut milk will protest against the cruelty inherent in the Thai coconut industry while PETA supporters brandish giant photos of the tormented animals used to pick coconuts.

In Thailand’s coconut-picking industry, endangered pig-tailed macaques are often illegally snatched from their forest homes as babies. Handlers put metal collars and leashes on them and may even 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 their systemic reliance on forced monkey labor, it’s impossible to guarantee that any coconut milk from Thailand is free of it.

“After three damning investigations, Whole Foods knows that abuse of vulnerable monkeys is rampant in the Thai coconut industry,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA is calling on Whole Foods to sell coconut milk only from countries such as India, Indonesia, and the Philippines, where monkey labor isn’t used.”

One of Whole Foods’ coconut milk suppliers was implicated in PETA Asia’s latest investigation into the trade, but the company failed to act after PETA presented it with this information. As PETA’s statement points out, the investigation proves that Whole Foods’ animal welfare standards and auditing procedures continue to fail animals. Last December, PETA submitted a resolution challenging Whole Foods’ purported “rigorous standards” for animal welfare and also cited an exposé that found evidence of abuse at a pig farm certified by the “humane” program that Whole Foods supports and a PETA exposé of Plainville Farms, a former supplier to Whole Foods that touted itself as “humane,” that resulted in 12 former workers being charged with a total of 141 counts of cruelty to animals.

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, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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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