Wegmans Drops Coconut Milk Tied to Monkey Labor After PETA Push

For Immediate Release:
November 12, 2020

Moira Colley 202-483-7382

Rochester, N.Y.

Following a PETA Asia undercover investigation into the use of captive monkeys kept chained and caged in Thailand’s coconut-picking industry and pressure from PETA members, Wegmans has discontinued its sale of coconut milk from major coconut milk producer Chaokoh.

PETA’s campaign has included video footage sent to the company, e-mails from tens of thousands of the group’s members and supporters, and a delivery of humanely picked coconuts to Wegmans’s CEO, after which the company confirmed that it would stop selling Chaokoh products.

“Milk from coconuts picked by chained monkeys doesn’t belong on grocery shelves any more than monkeys belong on those chains,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “Wegmans heard PETA’s message, and now PETA is calling on Walmart and Target to join it and the thousands of other stores that reject products of forced monkey labor.”

PETA Asia’s investigators found cruelty to monkeys on every farm, at every monkey-training facility, and in every coconut-picking contest that used monkey labor. When not being forced to pick coconuts or perform in circus-style shows for tourists, the animals were kept tethered, chained to old tires, or confined to cages barely larger than their bodies. Many displayed repetitive behavior indicative of extreme mental anguish, including one monkey who chewed on one of his own limbs. One coconut farmer confirmed that when monkeys are terrified and try to defend themselves, handlers may have their teeth pulled out.

Wegmans joins more than 25,000 other stores—including chains Costco, Walgreens, Food Lion, and Stop & Shop—that have banned coconut milk brands that use coconuts picked by monkeys. PETA is now turning its attention to other retailers that still do business with Chaokoh, including Kroger, Albertsons, Walmart, and Target.

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 PETA.org or follow the group on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram.

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