This morning we were confronted with a video claiming that coconuts are not vegan. A confusing claim to be sure, but one that got my attention. It turns out that coconuts are vegan but that the method for harvesting them involves animal cruelty. So while the coconut products we consume may be free from animal products, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re cruelty-free.
According to the video, in parts of Asia, monkeys are used as slaves to harvest coconuts. Adept climbers, these monkeys can pick 100s of coconuts in a day. They’re snatched from the wild, chained up, and forced to endure brutal training techniques. These monkeys are enslaved to a life cruel labour.
The demand for vegan products and alternative milk sources is steadily rising, putting pressure on suppliers to meet consumer needs. This will result in more monkeys being exploited, and harsher conditions.
Being vegan isn’t just about what you eat (or what you don’t). It’s a way of living that means saying no to all types of animal cruelty and exploitation. This is another reminder that we have to be really mindful of the products we consume. Animal abuse lurks in every corner, and we need to be aware of how things are produced and where they come from.
Until today I was completely ignorant to the fact that monkeys are being used to harvest coconuts. I use coconut milk on my cereal, and coconut oil in my cooking so I’ll be contacting the companies who provide these items to check whether or not they use monkey slaves. We, as consumers, have the power to change these things if we just stand up and demand ethical products. I want to spend my money with companies who care about animals, care about the environment, and who care more about ethics than profits.