Often overlooked by ethical coconut-loving consumers in the West, there is a widespread practice in some countries of using trained monkeys to pick coconuts - a practice that many point to as abuse or at the very least unethical due to the nature of the training and lifelong captivity that these highly intelligent and normally wild animals are forced to endure.
We are often asked at Cha's Organics if any monkeys are used in the harvest of our coconuts, and the answer to this question is no. All of our coconuts are sourced from fair trade certified organic small and medium scale farmers in Sri Lanka, who either personally harvest the coconuts themselves or hire a fit and agile neighbor or relative to do the harvesting.
Does hiring a human to harvest somewhere around 100 coconuts per day cost more than using a monkey that can harvest upwards of 1,500 coconuts per day at no charge end up costing more? Yes it does. Would we switch our production over to a cheaper region where coconut milk can be sourced at half the price and around 99% of coconuts are harvested by monkeys? No we would not.
To us, perpetuating suffering - be it human or animal - to save a few bucks just doesn't make sense. 🙈
Read more about this issue here and let us know what you think:
Also check out the 7:50 mark of our YouTube video Bringing Flavour To The Table here to see how our amazingly skilled producer partners get things done!