Monkey Labor Cover-Up in U.S.-Thai Coconut Trade: Jewel-Osco Tied to PETA Exposé

Jewel-Osco’s Relationship With Chaokoh a Major Stumbling Block to Ending Abuse, PETA Says

For Immediate Release:
January 7, 2021

Contact:
Brooke Rossi 202-483-7382

Itasca, Ill. – PETA Asia investigators recently returned to Thailand one year after exposing the use of forced monkey labor on Thai coconut farms—prompting Costco and other retailers around the world to cut ties with Thai coconut milk brands—and found that manufacturers and the Thai government are lying to the public and importers about monkey use, which continues despite false claims. In response, PETA is pushing Itasca-based Jewel-Osco and its parent company, Albertsons, with urgency to reconsider its business relationship with coconut milk brand Chaokoh, the biggest company implicated in the investigation.

PETA Asia’s video, available here, includes interviews with industry insiders who discuss how farms simply hide monkeys until auditors leave or are able to buy monkeys without registering them, even though registration is legally required. Of the 14 coconut farms that PETA Asia’s investigators visited in 2020, half were confirmed to be using monkeys—including two farms visited the previous year. As for the rest, because farmers can hire contractors to bring in monkeys only during harvest time, it’s nearly impossible to know whether they’re monkey-free.

“Useless audits and empty promises haven’t stopped monkeys—some whose teeth have been pulled out—from being chained for life and forced to labor on Thai coconut farms,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “PETA is calling on Jewel-Osco to stop selling milk from coconuts picked by abused monkeys.”

To push Jewel-Osco and Albertsons to reconsider their relationship with Chaokoh, PETA sent Albertsons CEO Vivek Sankaran and four other top executives deliveries of humanely picked coconuts and created a more accurate company logo. Tens of thousands of PETA supporters—including Belinda Carlisle of The Go-Go’s, who lives in Thailand—have joined PETA in calling on the company to stop selling coconut milk obtained via monkey labor.

More than 26,000 other stores—including chains Wegmans, Costco, Walgreens, Food Lion, and Stop & Shop—have banned coconut milk brands that use coconuts picked by monkeys.

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