UK Companies Confirmed To Not Use Coconuts Picked By Monkeys
We reached out to UK companies and companies that sell their products in the UK, to ask whether or not they source coconuts from suppliers that use Monkeys to pick them.
This list was started in 2015 and has been added to ever since. It is meant as a guide only. Please take the time to contact suppliers to ensure they are still using ethically-picked coconuts.
We actually have a really lovely video showing how and where we source our coconuts from, and I will paste the link below so that you can take a look if you’re interested vimeo.com”
Here’s what they said: “To the best of our knowledge traditional methods using bamboo hooks are used to harvest the coconuts”
We’re constantly aiming to source ethically harvested and created ingredients wherever possible.”
Companies Contacted But Who Have Not Responded
Companies That In Theory Would Support Using Monkeys To Pick Coconuts
With regard to the practice of using macaques to harvest coconuts:
1) We don’t see anything wrong with using macaques to harvest coconuts as long as those macaques are trained and kept the traditional way. The practice of using macaques to pick coconuts has been a part of Thai culture for >500 years and in my time in Thailand I was always amazed to see the relationship between the macaque and handler. The macaque is treated well and is clearly given respect for the important task that the animal fulfils for the farmer, no different to how I see sheepdogs being used here in Ireland, or drug detection dogs used by customs. It is common to see farmers heading to the plantations during harvest with a macaque in the front basket of the motorcycle. I have watched a farmer sit and groom his macaque after picking, removing ants and burrs.
2) Thailand is a Buddhist country, and I rarely have ever seen examples of animal cruelty. Animals in Thailand are generally treated extremely well. Working animals are an asset to their handler and are treated as such with respect, care and attention. There is a long history of using working animals in Thailand, probably the most obvious example is the elephant, an animal that was essential to Thailand, with the ability to work in the jungles and pull loads better than (and before) mechanical tractors. I marvel at the relationship between the mahout and elephant – lifelong, symbiotic, love and respect. Elephants are revered creatures in Thailand and are guests of honour at the festivals.
3) We have read a number of sensationalist type reports of the abuse of macaques, but we have never seen those reports supported by any serious studies. I have lived and worked in Thailand for years and have never seen any of the sorts of abuse that those stories put out. One report we read said that the monkeys were taken as babies from wild mothers and the mothers then shot – this is pure invention. The Thais are extremely smart breeders, identifying animals with strong traits and breeding these, no different to how we have specialised our dogs to do tasks – beagles for drugs, collies for sheep, rottweilers for protection. The thought that you might introduce wild traits into established breeding is bananas.
So in summary:
1) Thai Gold Coconuts are harvested by humans
2) We do not agree with your use of the term ‘abused slave monkeys’ as a general description of the state of Thai coconut macaques.
3) Yes, we condone and support the use of southern pigtailed macaques to harvest coconuts in Thailand. We also condone and support the use of sheepdogs, drug dogs, oxen for ploughing, horses for various jobs and bees for honey.
4) We believe all situations are open to abuse, but we believe that most humans (especially Buddhists) are pretty good at not abusing things and treating the living world as kin.”
The fantastic sanctuary Animal Place have compiled a list of US companies that do not use Monkeys to pick coconuts: