Walmart has become the latest major retailer to drop a coconut milk brand after allegations of forced monkey labor surfaced.
According to Axios, Walmart no longer sells Chaokoh products in stores and online, and the company’s Sam’s Club outlets are also no longer listing the product. Walmart joins other retailers including Target, Costco, Kroger and more in dropping the brand amid pressure from PETA.
In 2019, PETA investigators in Asia surfaced several instances in Thailand of a coconut supplier using chained-up monkeys to pick the fruit for major Thailand-based brands like Chaokoh. A follow-up investigation the next year found that many farms were still using monkey labor as well as operating monkey schools and running coconut-picking competitions with the animals.
PETA’s campaign to get retailers to pull Chaokoh products from shelves has gathered more than 95,000 supporters. The organization is still pushing to get 99 Ranch Market, an Asian supermarket chain with 54 stores across 10 states, to stop carrying the coconut milk brand.
On its website, Chaokoh said it contracted a company to conduct a monkey-free coconut due diligence assessment in 2020. The company said the assessment, which involved site tours and personnel interviews, turned up no evidence of monkeys being used for coconut harvesting.
Regardless, PETA executive vice president Tracy Reiman said, "With one PETA exposé after another confirming cruelty on coconut farms, retailers are dropping Chaokoh left and right.”