Mon. Dec 5th, 2022

NOTE: This article contains disturbing images of animals. Please read at your own discretion.

A recent investigation by the Organization for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) alleges that Thai coconut milk producers are involved in “reckless abuse” of monkey labor, in which chained primates are forced to spend hours picking heavy coconuts.

In a press release, the organization specifically names delivery giant HelloFresh for allegedly using vendors that participated in the abuse.

Photos and videos collected by PETA’s Asia investigators show monkeys being chained, whipped, beaten and hanged by the neck in coconut farms and monkey training schools. PETA says it visited 57 operations in nine provinces across Thailand between December 2021 and July 2022 and found animal abuse in each, according to the investigation’s website.

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PETA is calling on consumers to stop buying coconut milk produced in Thailand and calling on subscribers of HelloFresh and its affiliates like Green Chef to boycott the meal delivery service until it moves its coconut milk supply chain outside of Thailand.

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In a statement, HelloFresh defended itself against PETA’s claims, saying it had obtained assurances from suppliers that they were not engaged in monkey labor.

“HelloFresh strongly condemns any use of monkey labor in our supply chain and we take a firm stance that we do not source from suppliers or sell coconut products that have been found to use monkey labour. We have received written confirmation from all of our suppliers – in the US and globally – that they do not engage in this practice,” the statement said.

But PETA says brokers for two of HelloFresh’s coconut milk suppliers, Aroy-D and Suree, admitted to investigators that they used monkey labor. Aroy-D can also often be found on the shelves of Canadian stores, including Walmart and T&T.

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PETA says monkeys exploited in the coconut milk trade are usually taken from their families as infants and sold to “monkey schools” that use violent methods to train the monkeys to harvest coconuts. An animal welfare group said one owner of a monkey school told investigators he buys baby monkeys from farmers who use nets to catch them, even though he knows it’s illegal.

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Footage and photos from the monkey school captured by PETA show a trainer whipping a baby monkey with a rope and jerking it.

A photo taken by PETA investigators shows a monkey being abused by a trainer.


Another video shows a boy trying to train another monkey by hanging it from a chain around its neck, possibly cutting off the monkey’s oxygen supply, PETA said.

A photo taken by PETA investigators shows a monkey being held by the neck by a boy.


When the monkeys complete their training, they are sold to coconut pickers.

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Photos from vendor Surea show chained monkeys on trash-strewn dirt with little protection from the elements. A worker at Suree reportedly said the monkeys were forced to pick coconuts for more than a decade before being “retired” and tied up for the rest of their lives, PETA said.

A monkey named Chokh chained in the trash, as photographed by PETA’s Asia investigators.


Another employee told PETA investigators that monkeys are often bitten by insects and can suffer broken bones if they fall from trees or are pulled.

“Monkeys are chained around their necks and forced to toil day after day, all for HelloFresh and other unscrupulous companies,” PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman said in a press release. “PETA is calling on everyone, including HelloFresh, to stop buying canned coconut milk from Thailand until monkeys are no longer used and abused for profit.”

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PETA suggests buying coconut milk from suppliers that don’t source their ingredients from Thailand, including Trader Joe’s and Vita Coco.

Following the results of a similar investigation by PETA in 2019, the Thai government assured the public that monkeys it is no longer used for picking coconuts. Thailand is the largest exporter of coconuts, according to Reuters, with exports of coconut milk worth $396 million in 2019.

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