Thousands of monkeys still in forced labor farms

Some farmers in Thailand are still forcing monkeys to harvest coconuts even after a 2019 investigation led to companies, supermarkets, and the Thai government promised to help stop the cruel animal labor practice. According to National Geographic though, Target and Costco "announced that they'll no longer stock products from companies found to use monkey labor." From National Geographic:

PETA has documented how pig-tailed macaques are trained, sometimes in "monkey schools," to climb trees to pick coconuts. When the monkeys aren't working, they're often kept chained and transported in cages too small for them to turn around in, according to PETA footage. Many were likely illegally captured from the wild as babies, PETA says. The investigators found monkeys alone and in distress—screaming and pacing repeatedly, a sign of anxiety. Some were missing their canine teeth, removed to prevent injury to handlers, farmers told PETA.

[Edwin Wiek, an animal welfare advisor to Thailand's parliament] who is also the director and founder of Wildlife Friends Foundation, a sanctuary for wild animals, estimates that as many as 3,000 monkeys are used on coconut farms in southern Thailand, the main source region for the coconut milk industry.  

Pig-tailed macaques are protected by law in Thailand, where it's illegal to own them unless they're captive-bred. Violators can be fined or sentenced to two years in prison, although such a sentence has never been handed down, Wiek says. He says he believes that about half the monkeys used by coconut growers have been captured from the wild and therefore are kept illegally[…]

When PETA visited the First Monkey School, which trains monkeys to pick coconuts and is open to the public for a fee of 150 baht, or about $5, investigators documented chained monkeys performing for tourists, monkeys climbing trees to pick coconuts in front of crowds, and a monkey riding with tourists on the back of a motorized scooter.

image: Hectonichus (CC BY-SA 3.0)