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Thailand's coconut-picking monkeys trigger ethics debate

Local food processors promise traceability to head off threat of boycotts

Thai companies have been accused by animal welfare activists of abusing monkeys, which are sometimes used to harvest coconuts.   © Reuters

BANGKOK -- Thailand's coconut industry finds itself in an unwelcome spotlight over complaints that food processors are using fruit harvested by tethered monkeys.

In a YouTube video that has gone viral, monkeys are shown chained to poles in dirty surroundings and left in small cages in the rain. The video, which was made by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and published July 2, claims that most coconut products from Thailand contain fruit picked by "enslaved" monkeys.

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