Walmart became the latest retailer to pull Chaokoh coconut milk from store shelves and online shopping because of forced monkey labor allegations.
Walmart follows retailers like Kroger, Costco, Target, Wegmans, Walgreens and Stop & Shop who have stopped stocking and selling the coconut milk after an investigation from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals accused the Thailand-based supplier of using chained monkeys as forced labor to pick coconuts.
“The coconut trade uses social monkeys as chained-up coconut-picking machines, depriving them of any opportunity to eat, play, or spend time with their families,” PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman said in a statement. “With one PETA exposé after another confirming cruelty on coconut farms, retailers are dropping Chaokoh left and right. Kudos to Walmart for its kind decision.”
PETA added Walmart received 86,000 emails from their supporters to make the decision.
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USA TODAY has reached out to Walmart and Theppadungporn Coconut Co., the company that produces the product, for comment.
PETA began pushing for the coconut milk to be pulled from shelves since 2019, when investigators based in Asia visited eight farms in Thailand and found monkeys were forced to pick coconuts and were “abused and exploited,” with the animals chained and confined in small cages.
In 2020, an audit done by Bureau Veritas Certification (Thailand) Ltd., contracted by Theppadungporn Coconut Co., involved investigators randomly visiting 64 of its 817 farms and found no monkeys were being used to pick coconuts. PETA claims another investigation proved the audit was “misleading and inadequate” and companies and consumers were being lied about the use of monkeys.
In total, 45,000 stores have cut ties with Chaokoh coconut milk, PETA said. The organization added they are still pushing for other retailers to pull Chaokoh coconut milk from their shelves.