If you’re like me, you use coconut oil in everything from your breakfast to your beauty routine. While all coconut oil is vegan by definition, you might be surprised to know that some coconut oil farms use a controversial harvesting method: rather than humans hand-picking the coconuts, monkeys are trained to climb up the trees and harvest the fruit.
As any animal in captivity, these monkeys are taken away from everything that’s natural to them. Some are stolen from the wild, their mothers often killed so the babies can be stolen, others are born in captivity. They are trained using negative reinforcement and punishment, as they are forced to learn how to harvest coconuts from a very young age. Their hard work earns them little to no reward, and they are not allowed to eat any of the fruit. Learn more about the link between coconut oil and animal cruelty here and here.
Thankfully, some companies are opposed to this kind of animal exploitation and ensure that their coconuts are human-picked. If you want to make sure that your coconut oil is truly cruelty-free, here are a few lovely options to choose from.
Dr. Bronner is well-known for their all-in-one cleaning products, which are free from harsh chemicals, and can be used to clean anything from dishes to our hair and body. Renowned for their ethical stance, Dr Bronner are certified vegan, organic, and GMO-free. Their White Kernel Organic Virgin Coconut Oil is fair-trade and cruelty-free, as certified by the Leaping Bunny. Bonus: it’s also a perfect oil for cooking!
If quality is your main priority, look no further than Skinny & Co. This skin-sational brand offers first-grade cruelty-free skin and body care. Our favourite is the facial oil that’s infused with lavender and chamomile oils.
The coconuts used in Skinny’s products are hand-picked by farmers in Vietnam and are cold-pressed in a way that ensures a final product that’s 100% raw.
If you shop at Trader Joe’s, you might be glad to know that their coconut oil is human-picked and certified organic. In their Trader Joe’s Organic Virgin Coconut Oil, the main ingredient featured is fresh coconuts that are cold-pressed.
Maison Orphee offers many gourmet cooking oils, and their Virgin Coconut Oil is certified fair-trade, GMO-free, and organic. You can find it at Whole Foods as well as other grocery stores across the USA and Canada.
Nutiva is one of the most popular brands of coconut oil, and offers plenty of healthy coconut-derived products such as coconut flour and sugar. Their Organic Virgin Coconut Oil is unrefined, cold pressed, GMO-free, and made from fresh coconuts. All of their coconut oil products are human-picked, but look for the Fair Trade logo when purchasing.
If in doubt about your preferred product’s harvesting method, the best you can do for the animals and for yourself is to reach out to the company with your concerns. Hearing back from concerned customers will serve as feedback for beauty brands, and will be another step in ending the cruelty.
header photo by Thomas Lefebvre via Unsplash