The latest bit of news that would make no sense until you realize that of course stuff like this is going to happen in 2020, Costco has pulled a popular brand of coconut milk off of the shelves after allegations that the producer is employing the use of monkeys as slave labor.
The Product in question is Chaokoh Coconut Milk and news of the slave labor was brought to the attention of Costco and other retailers by PETA. In a letter to several retailers, it is alleged that they are using forced monkey labor to pick the coconuts used in Chaokoh Coconut Milk. Costco has now announced that they’ll be pulling the product from the shelves immediately, joining Walgreens, Food Lion, Giant Food, and Stop&Shop who have already removed it from sale. If you are aching for some monkey-picked coconut milk, it is still being offered on the websites of Target, Walmart, and Kroger’s.
According to the original complaint from Kent Stein, PETA’s corporate responsibility officer, the monkeys can be forced to pick around 400 coconuts a day while in chains. While not working, they are confined to cages. The complaint goes on to acknowledge forced monkey labor is not technically illegal in Thailand, but it’s really messed up. We’d also like to add that if you’re looking for a Planet of the Apes scenario, this is exactly the kind of garbage that makes it happen.
The pressure group sent a delivery of fresh, humanely picked coconuts to Costco President and CEO W. Craig Jelinek along with a letter outlining the findings of their investigation last month.
“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,” PETA wrote. “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.”
In a letter to PETA dated Sept. 29, obtained by USA Today, Ken Kimble, Costco’s vice president and general merchandise manager of corporate food and sundries, wrote: “We have ceased purchasing from our supplier/owner of the brand Chaokoh.” He added that Costco shared PETA’s “concern about the alleged treatment of monkeys” and that the chain had launched its own investigation. “We have made it clear to the supplier that we do not support the use of monkeys for harvesting and that all harvesting must be done by human labor,” Kimble wrote.
Costco is the latest retailer to cease stocking certain types of coconut milk like Chaokoh over concerns about cruelty in the production process, including Walgreens, Food Lion, Giant Food, and Stop&Shop. Chaokoh is also sold at Target, Walmart, and Kroger’s, according to their websites.
However, for fans of coconut milk, there is hope for the future–Chaokoh’s owners told USA Today that they are conducting an audit of all plantations and supply chains to vouch for them now being free of monkey-labor. Kimble added in his letter to PETA that Cotsco “will continue to monitor the implementation of the harvest policies and once satisfied will resume purchasing.” And for more on how to get the most from your shop at Costco, check out how This Insider Secret Will Save You Money Every Time You Shop at Costco.