Are Monkeys Used to Collect Coconuts for Coconut Oil?

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Posted: 21/11/2015 Print

Are Monkeys Used to Collect Coconuts for Coconut Oil?

The Use of Monkeys to Collect Coconuts for Coconut Oil

In some regions of the world, pig-tailed macaques are intentionally bred and trained – often with punishment – to harvest coconuts. Monkeys are chained by the neck and trained to pick only ripe coconuts and are then forced to do so, day in, day out and all day long. During training and beyond, the monkeys are tethered or caged 24/7, sometimes with little to no opportunity for socialisation. (Socialisation is extremely important for the development of monkeys).

What Conditions Are They Kept in?

The monkeys are always tethered to their “handler” and are not permitted to eat the coconuts they collect. Due to their ability to work for long hours, the macaques are capable of collecting 600-1,000 coconuts per day, compared to only 100-200 for humans. The monkeys can often get so tired from picking coconuts that they faint and when they are not working, the animals are often chained to tree stumps or kept in small cages.

Where Do These Monkeys Come From?

Sometimes the monkeys are offspring of berok (already trained monkeys); sometimes they are caught in the forest with nets or traps. Often though, nursing mothers are shot and their babies are taken. The monkeys can start training at one or two years old.

Monkey used to collect coconuts in Surat Thani, ThailandMonkey used to collect coconuts in Surat Thani, Thailand

How Are They Trained?

They begin by learning to spin coconuts attached to sticks and plastic ropes using their two legs and a hand, mimicking the process of picking a coconut from a tree. People prefer monkeys that use both their hands and legs. Ones that use only their hands won’t be resold at a good price.

In Thailand a well-trained monkey can fetch as much as 70,000 baht (£1270) and some monkeys can start picking coconuts as early as one month after they start training on the ground. Due to their aggressive nature, the monkeys wear a muzzle during training.

Are Monkeys Used to Collect Coconuts for Lucy Bee Coconut Oil?

No monkeys are used to pick or harvest the coconuts used to extract Lucy Bee Coconut Oil. Our producer from the Philippines says “In the Philippines, it is not custom to utilize monkeys or any other animals to collect coconuts from the tree. Harvesting method is either manual (climbing) or using bamboo pole.”

With regard to our Solomon Islands oil, there are no monkeys in the Pacific islands. “Our Pacific coconut farmers do all the work of collecting, carting and selling the coconuts themselves and both they and the coconut oil producers are paid a fair wage for their efforts. This is part of our fair trade charter.”

And our Sri Lankan oil producer commented “Sri Lanka, being primarily a Buddhist country, practices kindness to all living things. I have not witnessed these types of practices in Sri Lanka although wild monkeys do sometimes picks coconuts for their own consumption.”

A recent chat with Dr Winfried Fuchshofen, Director of Fair TSA confirmed that as part of our Fair Trade charter, no child labour or animal cruelty is permitted.

There are charities which support the banning of exploitation of animals in this way and you can donate here, if you so wish.

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Bangkok Post

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Facts and Details: Coconuts

About Lucy Bee Limited

Lucy Bee is concerned with Fair Trade, ethical and sustainable living, recycling and eating close to nature with additive free products for health.

Any information provided by us is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease. We always recommend referring your health queries to a qualified medical practitioner.

1 comments on this post

I specifically buy our brand for this reason and on top of that your lid isn’t plastic! Great company with a great heart!

Thanks for your support Stef, we really appreciate it. We aim to be as ethical as possible in all that we do and are really proud to be the #1 Best Buy for coconut oil in the UK as voted for by Ethical Consumer Magazine.

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