Costco Cans Coconut Milk Over the Forced Employment of Manacled Monkeys

(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

For those of you who love Costco coconut milk, I have bad news.

But for any avid admirers of monkeys, I bring the sweet, saturated nectar of delicious disclosure.

If you’re big on both, let your passions duke it out; here’s the down-low:

The world’s second largest retail chain has chosen to no longer carry a condemned brand of Thai coconut extract.

It appears there may have been poor form as the money-grubbing makers tried to milk it for all it’s worth: The Southeast Asian suppliers have been accused of forced labor.

Not of peasants or children, but monkeys.

Yet, what could make that rich goodness taste any better than knowing it was made by wild, screaming, tree-dwelling primates?

Nonetheless, PETA is thrilled with the throw-out.

President Ingrid Newkirk praised the warehouse club’s wherewithal:

“Costco made the right call to reject animal exploitation, and PETA is calling on holdouts like Kroger to follow suit.”

The ethical animal organization provided USA Today with a September 29th letter wherein Costco Vice President Ken Kimble doesn’t monkey around:

“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.”

Ken also touted the multinational corporation’s “concern about the alleged treatment” of the little laborers.

The VP wants to make sure it’s people, not monkeys, doing all that hard work:

“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. In turn, our supplier has contractually required the same of all its suppliers.”

Meanwhile, the manufacturer has taken upon itself to investigate — hence its 14-page “Monkey-Free Coconut Due Diligence Assessment.”

Per the Chicago Sun-Times:

The report says 64 farms out of 817 were randomly selected and “did not find the use of monkey for coconut harvesting.”

So don’t go ape — it seems the monkeys are devastatingly unemployed.

Via a statement, the company put it this way to USA Today:

Following the recent news about the use of “monkey labour” in Thailand’s coconut industry, Chaokoh, one of the world’s leaders in coconut milk production, reassures that we do not engage the use of monkey labour in our coconut plantations.

The Sun-Times reports two Chaokoh products remained on Costco’s Business Center site Tuesday.

Chaokoh was also still listed online by Target, Walmart, and Kroger.

Costco’s proven this year it isn’t afraid to slice its inventory by pulling products from the shelves — after a South Carolina mayor and producer of Palmetto pimento cheese controversially commented on the summer’s social unrest, the chain quickly cut the cheese.

Back to coconut milk, PETA corporate responsibility officer Kent Stein said chained monkeys can pick roughly 400 coconuts a day. But “just because something is legal or accepted, it doesn’t mean it’s okay.”

Chaokoh brand owner Theppadungporn Coconut Co. Ltd seems to agree.

So if you can get your hands on the derided drink, Chaokoh coconut milk can be chugged conscience-free.

Of course — as indicated above — putting aside any and all monkey matters, you’ll still know the liquid swishing around in your mouth came to you courtesy of dungporn.


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