Allegations of forced monkey labor are at the center of the ongoing controversy surrounding a coconut milk manufacturer.
Target is halting its sale of coconut milk made under the Chaokoh name, becoming the latest major chain to do so following the allegations. Other chains that have already stopped selling Chaokoh include Costco and Food Lion.
In a statement released on Monday, the animal rights advocacy group PETA explained how the latest move from Target is the result of their own appeals, as well as a pair of PETA Asia undercover investigations into the alleged use of captive monkeys in Thailand's coconut-picking industry.
"By dropping Chaokoh, Target is joining thousands of stores that refuse to profit from chained monkeys' misery," PETA's executive VP Tracy Reiman said on Monday. "PETA exposés have confirmed that Thai coconut producers are exploiting monkeys and lying about it, so there’s no excuse for any grocery store to keep Chaokoh on its shelves."
According to PETA, an initial investigation "found cruelty to monkeys" on every farm and at every training facility. The animals were allegedly forced to pick coconuts and perform for tourists, with living conditions said to have included being chained to tires and/or kept in small cages. A second investigation, which came after a worldwide push for the industry to institute reform, found that producers were still utilizing forced monkey labor while also allegedly figuring out ways to hide the practice.
In their own statement, shared with USA Today this week, a rep for Target said the company decided to remove Chaokoh products from their roster in November 2020.