PETA Lies About Thai Coconuts Exposes Western Fake News (Again)

Hours of videos on YouTube alone showing real coconut farming in Thailand proves just how badly PETA and its partners in the Western media lied about the Thai coconut industry and how dishonest the Western media is in general. 

August 2, 2020 (Tony Cartalucci - ATN) - PETA has claimed Thailand's coconut industry is dominated by the use of "monkey labor" and that "most coconuts that come from Thailand are picked by monkeys."

This is a blatant lie.

Not only is PETA's claim a complete lie, it is a lie that was eagerly repeated by every major Western media organization without question, investigation, or what the Western media often refers to as "fact checking." This includes British state media - the BBC in bias fact-free articles like, "Supermarkets snub coconut goods picked by monkeys."

PETA's lies were also never investigated by British supermarket chains who moved with lightning speed to immediately ban the sale of coconut products from Thailand.

Attempts by Thailand's government to defend the nation's coconut industry were muted by the Western media and derided by Western commentators and pundit despite PETA's lack of evidence regarding its own claims as well as overwhelming evidence that PETA did indeed lie. 

Fact Checking is Easy

PETA's claims are easy to expose.

At face value PETA's own "evidence" is a video less than 2 minutes long and appears to be taken at a single farm and features the same 2-3 monkeys throughout the entire video. One clip is even used twice, indicating just how scant PETA's actual "evidence" is.

Despite PETA claiming to have visited "8 farms" - the locations, dates, and details of these visits are never disclosed.

No statistics are compiled or disclosed by PETA. The methodology of their "investigation" is never revealed nor any details of anything resembling an actual investigation presented in either their video or their "investigation" webpage.

In the comment section of their YouTube video, PETA representatives themselves admitted (emphasis added):

A PETA Asia investigator was told by a worker at one farm that it supplies coconuts to brands Aroy-D and Chaokoh both of which are sold in major stores across the U.S. According to an industry insider, most coconuts that come from Thailand are picked by monkeys.
This "worker" and this "industry insider" were never named. No evidence exists to substantiate the claims either allegedly made and no evidence that PETA confirmed these claims was ever produced.

For real journalists, PETA's claims should have raised so many red flags that any article written about them should have been about PETA's attempts to spread fake news. Instead, the Western media made a deliberate and concerted effort to amplify these lies.

In all, it was a sloppy, lazy smear campaign that should offend anyone with common sense and basic critical thinking skills - but a smear campaign that was immediately bolstered by the weight of the Western media and British businesses - reeking of political motivation at a time when both the UK and US are carrying out punitive measures aimed at China and the rest of Asia's growing economic might.

Countering PETA's claims is exceptionally easy. There are literally hours of videos on YouTube alongside PETA's 1 minute and 39 second long video clip, showing how Thailand's coconut industry is actually run.

Industrial coconut farming is done by humans and as the video above shows, at a scale, pace, and in volumes no amount of monkey labor depicted by PETA could possibly compete with.

Coconut trees specifically bred for their short stature are planted along canals.

While monkeys trained to collect coconuts can twist one or two off a tree at a time within the span of a several minutes - as shown in PETA's video - a human harvesting coconuts with blades attached to poles can cut down 10 or 20 coconuts at a time in mere seconds.

Claims by PETA that a single monkey can collect "1,000" coconuts a day while humans can only collect 80-100 are revealed as absolutely absurd when watching videos of actual coconut farming in Thailand.

The coconuts at actual Thai coconut farms are deliberately cut so that they fall into a canal system below, protecting them from damage and keeping them in bunches that are more desirable for distribution - something trained monkeys are incapable of doing.

The coconuts are then floated down the canal system to a central collection point where thousands are carried off in trucks at a time. Again - something absolutely impossible with monkey labor.

Trained monkeys used to harvest coconuts is a tiny, traditional art practiced by a dwindling number of rural Thais and in no way is representative of Thailand's coconut industry and plays little if any role in the 880,000+ tons of coconuts (approximately 600 million coconuts if each coconut weighs about 1.4 kg) produced in Thailand each year.

For PETA's claims to be true nearly 2,000 monkeys would need to each pick 1,000 coconuts a day (125 per hour for 8 hours), everyday, 365 days a year. Nothing even remotely resembling this absurd scale was depicted in PETA's video or presented on PETA's website - or in any of the Western "news" organizations who rushed to uncritically repeat PETA's claims.

Videos of trained monkeys picking coconuts show the process to be slow, with monkeys sometimes preferring to stay up in trees after releasing only 2-3 individual coconuts. Trucks leaving at the end of the day often have only a few hundred coconuts collected by both humans and their monkeys combined - nowhere near the massive number collected on large-scale coconut farms by human workers.

With much more substantial evidence (hours of videos on YouTube alone - herehereherehere, and here - for example) showing how industrial coconut farming is actually done in Thailand, it is much easier to see not only how Thailand is able to produce so many coconuts annually, but easy to see that PETA maliciously lied about it.

Not only do videos showing actual coconut farming in Thailand expose PETA's lies, each video linked above is longer and provides a more detailed account of Thailand's coconut farming industry than the cherry picked clips PETA presented. Videos depicting monkeys collecting coconuts shows just how inefficient the traditional and dwindling practice is compared with modern Thai coconut farming.

The West Spreads Fake News, Not Fights It 

With the Western media increasingly emphasizing "fact checking" but still spreading lies like those produced by PETA - it seems much more likely that "fact checking" is a mere gimmick used by the Western media to reinforce its monopoly over public discourse, not ensure the public is actually getting factual information. In many cases, "fact checking" is used to help better conceal and spread disinformation.

That social media platforms are erasing accounts over allegations of "fake news" and "inauthentic behavior," but the fact that PETA still retains its Facebook, Twitter, and other US-based social media accounts - all in "verified" and "good standing" - is another indicator of how all of these notions are being abused to undermine facts and truth - not uphold them.

Thailand's only misstep was perhaps trading with nations like the UK in good faith or placing any amount of trust in the Western media and the West's army of nongovernmental organization (NGOs) including orgs like PETA - falsely believing that they conduct their business fairly and honestly rather than as tools of political coercion and economic warfare.

While PETA's claims of monkeys being harmed on vast scales is a baseless, verified lie - the damage PETA and the Western media's lies have done to real ordinary people who depend on coconut farming is very real.

The damage done by fake NGOs like PETA, the malign Western media they cooperate with and who enable their lies, and Thailand's own trading partners in the West regarding something as benign as coconuts is just a small example of how the West really does business. Nations doing business with the West must understand this reality and protect themselves accordingly.

Hopefully in the future Thailand's industrial and political leaders will be more careful with the trust they place in the West and take steps in the near future to protect themselves from malign smear campaigns like that carried out by PETA, the Western media, and British businesses.

A good start might be to create a series of videos illustrating modern industrial and agricultural practices in Thailand regarding essential economic activity to head off smear campaigns before they're even launched. These videos would have the dual purpose of promoting Thai industry.