PETA supporters protest ‘forced monkey labor’ outside Hutchinson Dillons store

Published: Apr. 29, 2021 at 4:08 PM CDT
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HUTCHINSON, Kan. (KWCH) - Supporters of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) on Thursday, April 29, dumped a pile of coconuts at the Dillons store on Main Street in Hutchinson. The animal rights group claims that Dillons and its parent company, Kroger, sell coconuts and coconut milk products from a company in Thailand that uses “forced monkey labor” to pick the coconuts.

PETA issued a news release Wednesday, explaining that investigators affiliated with the organization in Thailand “found cruelty to monkeys on every farm (and) at every monkey-training facility.” The organization said the investigation revealed that Thailand’s Chaokoh brand forces monkeys “who are kept in cages and chained for life” to pick coconuts used in coconut milk products.

Thursday morning in Hutchinson, three people, two dressed as monkeys, represented PETA outside the Dillons store on Main Street in Hutchinson. They brought a couple of wheel barrels full of “humanely-picked coconuts” and held signs that said, “Animals Are Not Ours to Use,” Dillons Supports Cruel Monkey Labor,” and “Forced to Pick Chaokoh Coconuts,” featuring a photo of a monkey that appears to be under some distress.

“These have been picked ethically,” said PETA member Marley Delgado of the coconuts dumped at the Hutchinson Dillons. “(Chaokoh uses) monkeys who have been stolen from their families as babies. They keep them chained. They keep them caged. They are denied anything that’s natural and important to them.”

PETA said it also sent coconuts to the homes of Kroger executives and previously dumped the fruit at the doors of Kroger’s headquarters.

The animal rights group said it’s asking Kroger and its subsidiaries to join chains like Target, Costco and Walgreens in banning coconut milk brands that use coconuts picked by monkeys.

In response to PETA, Kroger issued the following statement.

“Kroger has a longstanding commitment to responsible business practices, including the humane treatment of animals. We have re-engaged our suppliers, as well as other stakeholders, on this issue to re-confirm they are also protecting animal welfare.”

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