the truth is always stranger than fiction.
in an article, costco, a large consumer store, at the request of the people for the ethical treatment of animals(peta), is discontinuing the sale of thai-made coconut products due to alleged forced monkey labor. it was reported that chained-up monkeys can pick around 400 coconuts a day and are then stuffed in cages until their next shift.
this issue is not without controversy. there have been other articles written that the the monkeys are not mistreated. the article noted that this practice of employing monkey has existed for over 400 years!
let my monkeys go?
a ten commandments based society recognizes that there are working animals. these animals, however, are to be respected. the torah expresses a concern for the treatment of working animals.
the torah lays out various rules which protect animals. for example, it is a rule that “you shall not plow with an ox and a donkey together.” deuteronomy 22: 10. it would appear that this rule was meant for the comfort of the animals while performing labor. further, the ten commandments clearly states that “but the seventh day is a sabbath to the lord, your god; you shall perform no labor, neither you, your son, your daughter, your manservant, your maidservant, your beast, nor your stranger who is in your cities.”
are the monkeys being mistreated? an earlier article on the topic noted ” indeed, the monkeys are very similar to family pets, and for some households, even like family members to some degree. young ones are trained, and they are kept on a chain tethered to the handler or to a shelter when not working. they are fed, watered, bathed, groomed and otherwise cared for. they often ride to the coconut palm plantation on the back of a motor bike or in a cart driven by the handler.”
do the moneys in thailand get the sabbath off? who knows?
there are many issues to discuss on this topic. it is societally acceptable to have working animals? are all animals intended to live in the wild? did the conduct of these monkey handlers rise to the level of mistreatment or slavery? are these actions by organizations and businesses merely punishing individuals of a foreign country who have maintained an unusual practice for over 400 years?
it should be noted that in the united states that monkeys have been used as working animals. monkeys are used in the form of service animals for profoundly disabled individuals. there are non-profit organizations which promote it. this, however, is not without controversy. in addition, monkeys have been actors in hollywood. monkey actors have a reputation. one of the most notable monkey acting greatest performance was from crystal the monkey in “the hangover part ii.” it was an oscar-worthy performance!
there is certainly a lot to discuss and debate.
this blog offers no answers to this issue other than to note the fact that in a ten commandments based society that animals are afforded levels of protections.
let my monkeys go? lord knows.