Publix Drops Coconut Milk Tied to Monkey Labor After PETA Push

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For Immediate Release:
March 7, 2022

Contact:
Nicole Meyer 202-483-7382

Lakeland, Fla. – After two PETA Asia undercover investigations revealed the use of chained and caged monkeys in Thailand’s coconut-picking industry, locally based grocery chain Publix, with more than 1,200 stores across the Southern and Mid-Atlantic regions, has ended the sale of coconut milk from major producer Chaokoh. The decision follows a vigorous campaign by PETA, which included billboards and “monkeys” dumping coconuts in front of Publix’s corporate office and its CEO’s home and outside stores.

“A life as a chained-up coconut-picking machine is no life at all for a monkey, who needs to play, eat, and explore with family members,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “Since PETA exposés have confirmed cover-ups of cruelty on coconut farms, no company with a conscience can keep supporting Chaokoh, and Publix should be commended for taking action to help monkeys.”

PETA Asia’s first investigation found cruelty to monkeys on every farm, at every monkey-training facility, and in every coconut-picking contest that used monkey labor. When not being forced to pick coconuts or perform in circus-style shows for tourists, the animals were kept tethered, chained to old tires, or confined to cages barely larger than their bodies. After a global outcry, the coconut industry claimed to have changed this practice—but PETA Asia’s second investigation found producers still using monkey labor and industry insiders discussing how farms conceal this practice by simply hiding monkeys until auditors leave or by hiring contractors to bring in monkeys only during harvest time.

Publix is now among more than 33,000 stores—including those owned by chains Albertsons, Wegmans, Target, Food Lion, and Stop & Shop—that have cut ties with coconut milk brands that use coconuts picked by monkeys. PETA is now turning its attention to other retailers that still do business with Chaokoh, including Walmart and 99 Ranch Market.

Photos from the most recent investigation are available here, and broadcast-quality footage is available upon request.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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