The Cruel Treatment of Animals and the Government Response

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UKIP Press Release on the Embargo of Thai Coconut Products

While UKIP prides itself as a fearless advocate for the ethical treatment of animals, the case of the Berok (Thailand's primate coconut harvesters) opens a Pandora's box of competing moral imperatives.

A practice whose origins can be traced back 400 years (archaeologists cite ancient Egypt as an historic precedent), monkey labour in South East Asia is by no means a modern phenomenon. Ironically, it is those who now lament the plight of the pig-tailed macaque who are the chief sponsors of an industry reliant upon the species' services.

Through their promotion of coconut-based products as an ethical alternative to palm oil, environmentalists have fuelled demand, arguably undermining welfare standards in the process.

Agile and adept climbers, such monkeys revel in their task and are capable of harvesting up to 1,000 coconuts a day. That is not the cruel part of it.

However, instead of living fulfilled autonomous lives, which give expression to their natural instincts and will, lives that would include social interaction with other monkeys, mating, raising young, moving about freely and resting whenever they choose, some monkeys sadly now spend their lives socially isolated, in endless toil, forced obedience to the will of humans. They go mad. This is evil.

The footage recently captured by PETA Asia is truly horrifying and those responsible should rightly face the consequences. However, to penalise Thailand's entire coconut-farming community for the actions of an unscrupulous few will result in hardship for both human and animal alike.

Rather than yesterday's embargo hailed by Carrie Symonds among other celebrity cheerleaders, UKIP instead calls upon British retailers to invest in delivering improved working conditions and adequate policing of standards for Thailand's Berok, thus protecting both their welfare and the livelihoods of farmers.

Paul GirvanĀ 

UKIP Animal Welfare Spokesman