I have been an ardent supporter of Whole Foods for decades, because I believe that we share the same values--that all creatures deserve to live a humane life, no matter how long or short that life may be, and that it is our responsibility to engage in environmentally friendly and ethical practices. Needless to say, I was surprised and disconcerted when I saw coconut water from Thailand being sold as Whole Foods' 365 Coconut Water. Having spent a month in Thailand and witnessing a countless number of tethered monkeys atop piles of coconut, I saw firsthand how monkeys were treated. They are used to harvest coconuts because each monkey can harvest up to 800 coconuts per day compared to 100 coconuts by one person. The monkeys are tethered or caged 24/7, sometimes with little to no opportunity for socialization (depending on their owners). I stayed down the beach from a man who owned an "aggressive" monkey he used to harvest coconuts, and warned people how "dangerous" the tethered monkey was. No animal deserves to be chained.
Whole Foods needs to guarantee that they do not and will never support the use of monkeys to harvest the coconuts for their products. As conscientious consumers, we deserve to know the source of Whole Foods’ products before we buy them.
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