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Thailand says monkey labour ‘almost non-existent’ after UK shop ban

BANGKOK – Monkey labour to harvest coconuts for commercial products “is almost non-existent” in Thailand, the Commerce Minister said on Monday (July 6), after British retailers announced bans on products campaigners say use the animals in their production.

Waitrose, Co-op, Boots and Ocado vowed not to sell products that used monkey labour, while Morrisons has already removed Thai products amid an appeal by Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s fiancee Carrie Symonds.

Ms Symonds on Friday backed a call to supermarkets to stop selling Thai coconut products over accusations of monkey “slaves” by the rights group People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) published in the Telegraph newspaper.

“Using monkeys for the coconut industry is almost non-existent,” Thai Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit told reporters, saying human labour had long ago replaced monkeys.

“But there may still be the pictures of monkey collecting coconuts for tourism on video clips, which created a misunderstanding,” Mr Jurin said.

Deputy agriculture minister Mananya Thaiset echoed his comments.

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