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

Kroger’s Relationship With Chaokoh a Major Stumbling Block to Ending Abuse, PETA Says

For Immediate Release:
January 7, 2021

Nicole Meyer 202-483-7382


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 Kroger 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 Kroger to stop selling milk from coconuts picked by abused monkeys.”

To push Kroger to reconsider its relationship with Chaokoh, PETA sent its CEO, Rodney McMullen, and five other top executives deliveries of humanely picked coconuts; sent costumed “monkey” mascots to dump coconuts on the doorstep of its headquarters; held a protest led by a “chained monkey” at a Kroger store in Nashville, Tennessee; erected a billboard in Indianapolis showing a terrified monkey from the investigation; 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 Kroger 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 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 or follow the group on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram.

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