Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s fiancée Carrie Symonds has welcomed pledges by four British retailers to stop selling coconut products that use monkey labour in their production and called on others to do the same.
“Glad Waitrose, Co-op, Boots and Ocado have vowed not to sell products that use monkey labour, while Morrisons has already removed these from its stores,” Symonds said on her Twitter account.
Symonds, a conservationist, was responding to reports which highlighted the plight of pigtailed macaques that are taken from the wild in Thailand and used on farms to harvest coconuts.
She called on all other supermarkets to boycott the products.
“I’m told Asda , Tesco and Sainsbury’s still sell such products,” she said. Asda, Tesco and Sainsbury’s declined to comment.
Symonds is a well known campaigner for animal rights.
The PM’s fiancee recently backed calls for puppy imports to be banned amid concerns over designer dog farming abroad.
Campaigners say Instagram accounts advertise “over-bred” pedigree puppies, intensively reared to be as small as possible, which are an attractive prospect for people looking for a unique pet.
However, these are often shipped from countries with less rigorous animal welfare standards than the UK, and the pets frequently face a long and dangerous journey.
What is monkey labour?
Monkey labour is practised by Thai farmers who use the pigtailed macaques to harvest coconuts.
A male monkey can collect an average of 1,600 coconuts per day and a female can get 600. Monkeys can be trained to collect the coconuts from the trees and are often kept in brutal conditions by the farmers.