Chude Uzoka, Staff
Corporations commonly get caught up in some hijinks. In the quest to pursue higher profits, companies tend to forget about human rights sometimes. Nike has been heavily criticized for years for using child labor and sweatshops, even though they claim to have cleaned up their act a decade ago, this still affects them to this day. Of course, there were reports of Apple employees in China working so hard for so little that eventually, they jumped off the very building they worked at. Rather than fix the working conditions, the factory put up anti-jump nets, which didn’t actually make things better. They just wanted to make sure people could not die, so they could scoop them up from the nets and put them back to work. Many Apple fans pointed the finger at Foxconn, the supplier that produces many of Apple’s devices along with several other companies. As a corporation, how would you resolve this issue and not run a working environment where people are driven to suicide? Pay people better? Improve the conditions? Let the employees have time off? Well, I guess you could do that, but what if instead you ensured that you were not exploiting humans by simply not using humans at all.
This brings us to HelloFresh. You remember them, right? You spend like $20 a meal for about $10 worth of ingredients and a recipe you could’ve found online for free and then you still have to cook it yourself. Anyway, the meal kit delivery service HelloFresh was recently accused by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) of using coconut milk obtained from monkey labor in Thailand. Some days you wake up and see a story on the Internet and you think this can not be real; it has to be a joke. This is one of those stories. It’s just too absurd, but it’s apparently true. Thailand is the 9th largest producer of coconuts worldwide, behind Indonesia, India, the Philippines, and a few other countries. And I guess, when you’re that far down the list, you have to give yourself a competitive edge, plus humans are whiny. Coconuts grow on trees. There’s no way around that. So, for people to harvest them, they need ladders, they need safety equipment, they probably want breaks and if they get hurt you have to train a new employee. What if there was a natural solution to this problem? What if you could find a worker that could not only climb trees, but leap from treetop to treetop and pull the coconuts down with a speed unlike any human. PETA says that “57 operations in nine provinces of Thailand” still use monkeys to do this and claims that HelloFresh buys their coconut milk from those companies who get their coconuts from one or more of these 57 operations. HelloFresh released a statement saying, “HelloFresh strictly condemns any use of monkey labor in its supply chain, and we take a hard position of not procuring from suppliers or selling coconut products which have been found to use monkey labor. We have written confirmation from all of our suppliers — in the U.S. and globally — that they do not engage in these practices.”
Now I want to know who at HelloFresh is in charge of sending the form to suppliers saying that “hey, just a formality, but can we get a signature saying that you don’t have monkeys working for you?” Curious George is not on the suppliers’ payroll, so they’d probably be confused.
Now you’re probably wondering if it’s a job that’s very dangerous for humans, isn’t it actually good that they are using monkeys? Don’t they like climbing trees? Well…
The following emailed statement is from PETA and it’s pretty rough.
These companies basically go into the jungles and abduct monkeys from their families, cage them, beat them, and force them to work. When the monkeys are no longer able to work anymore, they do not exactly get thrown a gold watch and a retirement party. They get tossed back into the jungle, where they can not really survive anymore because they have spent too much time in captivity. Now I do not think PETA would go for any animals being used as laborers, but what if the monkeys were not caged, collared and beaten, were fed well and maybe got weekends off? You do not hear anyone complain about seeing eye dogs being forced to stop blind people from walking into traffic. Just when you think the world can not get any darker, you wake up one day and find out someone’s whipping monkeys for coconut milk.