Thailand Says Monkey Labour Almost Non-Existent After UK Shop Ban

BANGKOK—Monkey labour to harvest coconuts for commercial products “is almost non-existent” in Thailand, the commerce minister said on Monday, after British retailers announced bans on products 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 Johnsons fiancée Carrie Symonds.

Symonds on Friday 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.

“Using monkeys for the coconut industry is almost non-existent,” Thai Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit told reporters, saying human labour had long ago replaced monkeys.

“But there may still be the pictures of monkey collecting coconuts for tourism on video clips, which created a misunderstanding,” Jurin said.

Deputy agriculture minister, Mananya Thaiset, echoed his comments. “How do you even find that many monkeys to collect large amounts of coconuts to cater to the industry?” she said.

When asked by email about the ministers comments that the video may have been taken at tourist shows, rather than in an industrial plantation, PETA Senior Vice President Jason Baker said: “PETAs investigation footage was captured recently on plantations and training schools.”

“When the government tries to explain away extreme cruelty to monkeys, it only makes the public angrier,” he added.

Reuters could not verify whether the monkeys in the PETA video were being used in commercial coconut farming.

Thailand last year exported coconut milk worth 12.3 billion baht ($396 million), about 8 percent of it to Britain.

Walmart-owned supermarket Asda also said it was removing products from Aroy-D and ChaokoRead More – Source