Costco Considering Nixing Coconut Milk Obtained via Forced Monkey Labor
For Immediate Release:
September 21, 2020
Brooke Rossi 202-483-7382
Seattle – Costco President and CEO W. Craig Jelinek will receive a special delivery this week, courtesy of PETA: a bunch of fresh, humanely picked coconuts to encourage him to drop products obtained through the coco-nuts practice of forced monkey labor.
Monkeys in Thailand are chained in barren environments, separated from their peers, driven insane, subjected to tooth-pulling, cruelly trained, and forced to climb trees to pick coconuts for coconut milk sold by Chaokoh. Costco is in discussions with PETA about dropping the brand but so far has refused to eliminate it from its shelves. More than 25,000 stores around the world—including Walgreens, Giant, and Food Lion—have agreed not to sell coconut products obtained through monkey labor after PETA shared with them the cruelty uncovered in its exposé of this practice in the Thai coconut industry.
“Coconuts are sweet, but the ways monkeys in Thailand are deprived of any semblance of a real life and exploited to pick them is anything but,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “Smart, sensitive primates don’t deserve to be subjected to bitter lives of forced labor.”
The group has also sent coconuts and letters to the CEOs of other companies—including Kroger, Publix, and Woodman’s—to ask them to reconsider their business relationship with Chaokoh.
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org.
PETA’s letter to Costco follows.
September 21, 2020
President and CEO, Costco
Dear Mr. Jelinek,
Greetings from PETA. We applauded Costco when it stopped offering trip packages involving elephant rides, and now we urge you to help other wild animals: monkeys forced to pick coconuts for products on your store shelves.
We’ve sent you these coconuts in the hope of cracking open some progress regarding your business relationship with Chaokoh, a brand sold by your company and implicated in a recent PETA Asia exposé of Thailand’s coconut industry. This investigation revealed that Chaokoh is complicit in an industry that’s forcing monkeys—confined for life, sometimes with their teeth removed, always on chains, and often driven insane from being deprived of everything that’s natural and important to them—to collect coconuts.
It seems that monkeys used in the coconut industry are illegally captured in nature as babies. Then, they endure abusive training. Investigators visited “monkey schools,” which exploit the animals to entertain visitors through tricks such as riding bicycles and shooting basketballs. Coercion is used to train them to pick coconuts, as they wouldn’t voluntarily do it.
The monkeys are isolated from their peers as they spend their lives chained, transported in cages, and forced to climb trees in order to collect coconuts. The captive animals display stereotypic types of behavior, such as circling endlessly. Similar abuse was found at all 13 randomly selected locations.
Monkeys are exploited for coconuts used for Chaokoh coconut milk, sold by your chain. In contrast, more than 25,000 other stores have pledged not to purchase products from any company that depends on forced monkey labor.
We’d love for these products to be removed from your shelves. Will you please call our office at 757-622-7382, extension 8709, at your earliest convenience?
Ingrid E. Newkirk