On Wednesday, I was scrolling through the Power to The Veg! Facebook group and stopped on an article from NPR about the coconut industry. This article said that around the world, coconuts are being harvested by monkeys who are trained and then chained to trees. Trainers seem to take a pretty lackadaisical approach and say that the monkeys are merely chained so they don't "run away." The pictures are horrifying and the logic behind needing chains so these creatures won't escape the work they're forced into was equally as heart breaking.
We were immediately alarmed and emailed the supplier we buy our coconut from because they have the direct relationship with the farms they source from and visit them regularly. We faced some tough conversations and what-ifs while we waited for a response. We know that sometimes there's an endless spiral effect when you're trying to decide "what's good" and "what's bad" for veganism- where do your dollars end up, what practices do these companies engage in, does it ultimately help people consume fewer animals? These practices are not something that we would ever want to be a part of or condone or encourage through buying power, nor would we ever expect people who purchase from us to want to be a part of this either! It was pretty clear to us that we see ourselves as vegans first, and bacon pushers second.
This morning, we received a forwarded response from the coconut farms through our supplier. They let us know that no animals are involved in the process of harvesting their coconuts and also informed us that coconut plucking is a trained profession in Sri Lanka. We were relieved to receive this news and as a company we're dedicated to making sure that we source our ingredients thoughtfully and responsibly.
Here's their response:
" In Sri Lanka we have NO "monkey business" at least where coconuts are concerned. They do harvest the coconuts when they are hungry but don't share with us humans.
Coconut plucking is a trained profession in Sri Lanka, there is a dedicated community practicing this profession. So animal are NOT involved."