No monkey business: 2 coconut plantations get Thailand's cruelty-free stamp
The Department of Agriculture has started handing out “monkey-free” certificates to coconut farmers in Ratchaburi and Samut Sakhon to signify animal-cruelty-free harvests.
The certificates handed out on Tuesday verify that no monkeys were abused in the collecting of coconuts.
The issue of Thai farmers using chained monkeys to scale tall trees and bring down heavy coconuts was brought to global attention by PETA Asia in 2020. British supermarkets were the first to react and stopped stocking coconut milk from Thailand.
This prompted the Department of Agriculture to hold a virtual meeting with the International Coconut Community (ICC) and apply the principles of Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) to the industry. It also resulted in the department launching the “GAP Monkey-Free Plus” programme.
On Tuesday, department director-general Rapeepat Chansriwong presented the GAP Monkey-Free Plus certificates to Theppadungporn Coconut Co Ltd in Ratchaburi and K-Fresh Co Ltd in Samut Sakhon. They were the first two major coconut product manufacturers to pass the animal cruelty-free standards.
Rapeepat said coconut farmers are welcome to join the programme at any branch of the department’s Agricultural Research and Development Centre.
Officials will be dispatched to monitor the growing and harvesting process to ensure that GAP Monkey-Free Plus standards have been met before plantation owners receive a certificate.
This stamp can also be displayed on coconut-based products from these plantations.
Thailand exported 236.3 billion tonnes of coconut milk in 2021 worth 12.8 billion baht. Thai coconut milk is currently holding the largest market share of coconut milk products in the United States and Europe.