Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Monkeys (allegedly) doing the jobs that Thai people don't want to do

This morning, Catherine Ngai tweeted about a USA Today article. The article discusses allegations of forced labor in the production of a product, and how various US companies are responding to the allegations.

The US companies that are reportedly no longer selling the product in question include Costco, Food Lion, Giant Food, Stop & Shop, and Walgreens.

The product in question? Coconut milk. 

But that's not the interesting part.

The interesting part is the forced labor. It turns out the the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has alleged that the coconuts used to produce coconut milk are harvested by forced labor.

Specifically, monkeys. 

Were monkeys forced to pick your coconuts?

Many kind people choose coconut milk instead of cow’s milk because they don’t want to support cruelty to animals. But a disturbing PETA Asia investigation reveals that terrified young monkeys in Thailand are kept chained, abusively trained, and forced to climb trees to pick coconuts that are used to make coconut milk, meat, flour, oil, and other products.

But wait. This is PETA; you know the story will turn more gut-wrenching.

Denied the freedom to move around, socialize with others, or do anything else that is important to them, these intelligent animals slowly lose their minds. Driven to desperation, they pace and circle endlessly on the barren, trash-strewn patches of dirt where they’re chained.

Hmm, sounds like lockdown. What's the problem?

For its part, coconut milk producer Theppadungporn Coconut Co. Ltd told USA Today that it conducted its own audit of third party coconut plantations and found no evidence to support PETA's claims. 

There's an easy way to validate this, but neither party has done so. For its part, PETA claims that one of the sites abusing monkeys is a supplier to Theppadungporn Coconut Co. Ltd. The latter company doesn't state whether this particular site was checked in its audit. And neither side is revealing exactly where this particular site is. 

So if PETA's claims actually are correct, shifting from animal-based food to plant-based food isn't a guarantee of things being wokefully wonderful. But PETA already told us that:

Whether it can be proved that plants experience pain or not, vegan foods are the compassionate choice because they require the deaths of fewer plants and animals.

So if you don't want to kill animals, and you don't want to kill plants, there's only one solution, and it uses a word not popular in the woke circles.


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