Market chain giant Costco is pulling certain coconut milk products from their shelves after learning of possible “forced monkey labor.”
The retailer is one of many to say they will no longer stock coconut products from Thai suppliers, according to a USA TODAY report. However, Thai suppliers have allegedly been using monkeys for labor purposes of harvesting coconuts. As a result, Costco joins Walgreens, Food Lion, Giant Food and Stop and Shop as stores vowing to not stock the products.
Officials for the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) say Thai distributors forced monkeys to pick coconuts in high trees.
PETA President Ingrid Newkirk says suppliers were using monkeys as “coconut picking machines” in a press release. She also touts the decision of Costco and other retailers for their decision to discontinue stocking the product.
“No kind shopper wants monkeys to be chained up and treated like coconut-picking machines,” Newkirk says in the statement. “Costco made the right call to reject animal exploitation, and PETA is calling on holdouts like Kroger to follow suit.”
Costco Pulls Coconut Milk Products
The retailer, which operates 795 warehouses, previously sold Chaokoh coconut milk in bulk.
In a letter provided to USA TODAY from PETA, Costco Vice President Ken Kimble confirms pulling the products.
“We have ceased purchasing from our supplier/owner of the brand Chaokoh,” Kimble says in the letter. “We will continue to monitor the implementation of the harvest policies and once satisfied will resume purchasing.”
PETA says their Asia investigative team found much cruelty to monkeys inside Thailand’s vast coconut industry. As a result, several stores have pulled the products
“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,” the statement says.
[H/T: USA Today]