- Title: Thailand denies monkey labour used in coconut harvesting
- Date: 8th July 2020
- Summary: BANGKOK, THAILAND (JULY 8, 2020) (REUTERS) CHAOKOH COCONUT PRODUCTS IN SUPERMARKET TROLLEY WOMAN PICKING COCONUT CREAM PRODUCTS FROM SHELF VARIOUS CHAOKOH AND AROY-D PRODUCTS ON SHELF
- Embargoed: 22nd July 2020 13:39
- Keywords: Thailand UK abuse animal ban britain coconut monkeys retailers slave
- Location: BANGKOK, RATCHBURI, PRACHUAP KHIRI KHAN, SAMUT SONGKHRAM PROVINCES / THAILAND
- City: BANGKOK, RATCHBURI, PRACHUAP KHIRI KHAN, SAMUT SONGKHRAM PROVINCES / THAILAND
- Country: Thailand
- Topics: Government/Politics,International Trade
- Reuters ID: LVA006CLY6J47
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Thailand insisted it does not use monkeys to collect coconuts on an industrial scale, the deputy agriculture minister said on Wednesday (July 8), after British retailers announced bans on products which campaigners say use the animals in their production.
Waitrose, Co-op, Boots and Ocado vowed not to sell products that used monkey labour, while Morrisons has already removed Thai products amid an appeal by Prime Minister Boris Johnson's fiancÃ©e Carrie Symonds.
Symonds on Friday (July 3) backed a call to supermarkets to stop selling Thai coconut products over accusations of monkey "slaves" by the rights group People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) published in the Telegraph newspaper.
PETA claims that all 13 facilities that they have investigated in Thailand were found to have abused the monkeys and they are urging the government to end the practice.
"We're hoping that they're going to make those changes, eliminate the use of monkeys in coconut picking and instead, rely on mechanized coconut picking as is done in other countries. Until that happens, we're calling on consumers to not buy coconut products from Thailand," said Ashley Fruno, PETA's Asia Manager.
Reuters could not verify whether the monkeys in the PETA video were being used in commercial coconut farming.
Denying the accusations, deputy agriculture minister Mananya Thaiset told Reuters: "Even all the monkeys in the entire forest won't be enough for the industry because we export hundreds of thousands of coconuts (each year). We import about 5 to 600,000 tons of coconuts (from neighbouring countries) and we export about one million tons of our own coconuts. Think about how many monkeys would we need for the 1 million tons of coconuts."
She added that men and monkeys, mainly the Southern pig-tailed macaque breed, have been living together for generations in Thailand and has become a way of life. The animals are often treated as a family member or loving pets.
Thailand last year exported coconut milk worth 12.3 billion baht ($396 million), about 8% of it to Britain.
(Production: Artorn Pookasook, Jiraporn Kuhakan, Juarawee Kittisilpa)
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