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Wegmans joins coconut milk brand ban over monkey labor concerns

Wegmans joins coconut milk brand ban over monkey labor concerns
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Grocery chain Wegmans has banned a coconut milk brand over concerns regarding monkey labor, according to the New York Daily News. 

The Daily News reported this week that Wegmans dropped Chaokoh coconut milk after an undercover investigation by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) found that monkeys were cruelly treated by the company's partners in Thailand during the coconut-harvesting process.  

Wegmans made the decision after the advocacy group shared footage of the monkeys' conditions, and thousands of supporters raised the issue in an email campaign, the news outlet reported.

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PETA President Ingrid Newkirk celebrated the victory, but said more stores need to stop selling products that use forced monkey labor. 

“Milk from coconuts picked by chained monkeys doesn’t belong on grocery shelves any more than monkeys belong on those chains,” Newkirk told the Daily News. “Wegmans heard PETA’s message, and now PETA is calling on Walmart and Target to join it and the thousands of other stores that reject products of forced monkey labor.”

A spokesperson for the company said in a statement to The Hill, "The product in question is no longer available at Wegmans."

PETA’s undercover investigation found that monkeys were kept in terrible conditions, bound to blocks or old tires or kept in small cages. They also showed signs of mental anguish and had their teeth removed if they fought back against their handlers. 

Since the probe, multiple other brands have banned coconut milk brands that use forced monkey labor, the Daily News notes, including Costco, Walgreens and Food Lion.

Updated at 10:48 a.m.