Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ: COST) is removing Chaokoh coconut milk products off its shelves, the latest in a slew of retailers taking the step after a Thailand-based supplier is accused of using slave monkeys to pick coconuts.
The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) praised Costco for its decision to stop selling Chaokoh coconut milk until the suppliers stop using slave monkeys as coconut-picking machines.
“No kind shopper wants monkeys to be chained up and treated like coconut-picking machines. Costco made the right call to reject animal exploitation, and PETA is calling on holdouts like Kroger to follow suit,” PETA President Ingrid Newkirk said in a statement.
The animal rights organization shared with USA Today a letter from Costco, in which the wholesale retailer’s vice president and general merchandise manager of corporate food and sundries, Ken Kimble said, “We have ceased purchasing from our supplier/owner of the brand Chaokoh. We will continue to monitor the implementation of the harvest policies and once satisfied will resume purchasing.”
PETA investigated the conditions of monkeys working in Thailand’s coconut farms
Earlier this year, PETA found that the manufacturer of Chaokoh coconut milk was using slave monkeys to gather coconuts for coconut milk. The American animal rights organization based in Virginia investigated the company, and found monkeys chained up and treated poorly in every area of the business where the animals were working.
According to PETA, Chaokoh kept the monkeys chained to old tires, or confined in cages barely larger than their bodies. A coconut farmer even testified that handlers may even pull out the monkey’s teeth if and when they become terrified and try to defend themselves.
Chaokoh manufacturer flatly dismissed the accusation
Theppadungporn Coconut Co., Ltd. (TCC), the manufacturer and distributor of Chaokoh coconut milk, flatly dismissed PETA’s claims. The company said customers could trace all of its operations to make sure that the products are environmentally sustainable.
The Thailand-based company claimed that a third party audited its business areas. It provided a copy of the 14-page “Monkey-Free Coconut Due Diligence Assessment,” which indicated that 64 out of 817 coconut farms were randomly selected for auditing. The report stated that the farms did not use monkeys to harvest coconuts.
Chaokoh is one of the world’s leading coconut milk brands. Following PETA’s exposé about Thailand’s coconut industry, the Chaokoh coconut milk manufacturer told the U.S. newspaper that it is not using slave monkeys in its coconut plantations.
Other companies including Walgreens Boots Alliance (NASDAQ: WBA) Cost Plus World Market, Ahold Delhaize and its family of brands (including Giant Food, Food Lion, Stop & Shop, and Hannaford in the U.S. as well as Albert Heijn in the Netherlands) also stopped selling Chaokoh coconut milk.
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