Costco is the latest retailer pledging to remove coconut products from Thai suppliers who have been accused of using monkeys as forced labor.

Costco joins Walgreens, Food Lion, Giant Food, and Stop & Shop, who all stopped stocking brands of coconut milk after a PETA investigation found certain brands such as Chaokoh use monkey labor, USA Today first reported.

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“No kind shopper wants monkeys to be chained up and treated like coconut-picking machines,” PETA President Ingrid Newkirk told USA Today. “Costco made the right call to reject animal exploitation, and PETA is calling on holdouts like Kroger to follow suit.”

PETA Asia investigators visited eight farms where monkeys are forced to pick coconuts as well as monkey-training facilities and a coconut-picking competition. The team found terrified young monkeys who were illegally ripped from their homes and being forced to perform difficult tasks to retrieve heavy coconuts from high trees.

The monkeys are tethered to rigid metal collars while climbing up and down coconut trees and kept in cramped cages while being transported. Investigators also found several instances of physical abuse of the monkeys by the trainers.

Source: PETA/YouTube

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After the horrifying report, retailers around the world began pulling Chaokoh, one of Thailand’s major coconut milk producers, as well as Aroy-D brands of coconut milk.

Thousands of stores have removed products linked to PETA’s investigation including 9,027 Walgreens and 250 Duane Reade stores in the U.S.; 2,758 Boots stores in the U.K. and Thailand; Sainsbury’s, Asda, and Tesco in the U.K.; and Albert Heijn in the Netherlands.

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As PETA points out, other coconut-growing regions such as Brazil, Colombia, and Hawaii use humane methods to harvest coconuts. Tractor-mounted hydraulic elevators, rope or platform systems, or dwarf coconut trees are all alternatives to monkey labor. Yet Chaokoh and other coconut suppliers from Thailand put monkeys to work.

“Just because something is legal or accepted, it doesn’t mean it’s OK,” Kent Stein, PETA’s corporate responsibility officer, told USA Today, referencing the fact that the Tourism Authority of Thailand website promotes monkey labor. “What really drives this change is retailers not supporting the product, and of course, customers not buying the product. Costco being a major player should have an impact.”

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PETA lists coconut brands that do not use monkey labor on their website to allow consumers to opt for a more ethical purchase.

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Sign this petition to end the use of monkeys to harvest coconuts!

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