The use of monkeys to pluck coconuts is a traditional practice in some parts of the world, particularly in regions where coconut farming is common. The use of trained monkeys for coconut harvesting has historical roots in countries like Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and parts of India. These regions have used monkeys for generations, who are being trained to climb trees on command, pick coconuts, and drop them to the ground.

While this practice has been employed for many years, it has raised ethical and animal welfare concerns, leading to debates about its continuation.

Ethical Concerns

There are significant ethical concerns associated with using monkeys for this purpose. Critics argue that the training methods can be abusive, involving punishment and coercion. Monkeys may be chained or kept in conditions that do not meet their welfare needs.

Animal Rights and Welfare

Animal welfare organizations and activists have called for the discontinuation of this practice, citing concerns about the physical and psychological well-being of the monkeys involved. Some countries have introduced laws and regulations to protect the welfare of these animals.

Animal Exploitation

One of the most significant ethical concerns is the exploitation of monkeys for human benefit. Monkeys are wild animals, and their use in this capacity is often viewed as a form of exploitation, where they are forced to perform laborious and unnatural tasks for human gain.

Training Methods

The methods used to train monkeys for coconut plucking are often criticized for their cruelty. Monkeys may be subjected to physical punishment and coercion during training, which can lead to physical and psychological harm.

Living Conditions

Monkeys used for coconut harvesting may be kept in inadequate living conditions. They may be chained or caged for extended periods when they are not working, leading to confinement-related stress and physical health issues.

Health and Safety

The work itself can be physically demanding, dangerous and there may be limited access to veterinary care in case of an emergency.

Social Isolation

Monkeys are social animals that naturally live in groups. When used for coconut plucking, they are often isolated from other monkeys, which can lead to loneliness and mental distress.

Long-Term Impact

The stress of their working conditions and the physical toll of the work can lead to a reduced lifespan and a lower quality of life for the species.


Some countries and regions have implemented regulations or outright bans on the use of monkeys for coconut harvesting due to animal welfare concerns. For example, in 2020, Thailand announced plans to phase out the use of monkeys in the coconut industry.

The practice of using monkeys to pluck coconuts remains a subject of debate and controversy. It raises complex questions about cultural traditions, economic considerations, and animal welfare. As societal attitudes evolve and awareness of animal rights increases, the practice is facing growing scrutiny, and alternatives are being explored to ensure the well-being of both humans and animals involved in the coconut industry.