Civet Cats Driven Mad: PETA Exposes Kopi Luwak Coffee

Posted on by Laura Weyman-Jones

PETA Asia’s latest investigation into the cruel kopi luwak industry shows that despite an international outcry about the suffering of civet cats following our previous exposé, nothing has changed. The shocking new footage from a kopi luwak coffee farm in Indonesia reveals the toll that constant confinement to a cramped wire cage has taken on a sensitive Asian palm civet cat.

The stressed, terrified animal paces and goes in circles, desperate to escape his filthy prison cell. He has no choice but to eat unnatural amounts of coffee cherries so that his excrement can be sold for kopi luwak or “civet cat poop coffee”.

He was captured and forced to endure continuous contact with humans, whom he naturally fears, and this has driven him insane. He is just one of the many suffering animals the investigators filmed during their third look inside kopi luwak farms in Indonesia, the world’s top producer of civet coffee, earlier this year.

Although Asian palm civets are a protected species under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, these most recent findings mirror what investigators uncovered during previous exposés of the kopi luwak industry: pervasive cruelty on every single farm.

PETA Asia investigators found civet cats in cages encrusted with faeces, rotting coffee cherries, and other filth. With no dark place to sleep, the nocturnal animals were deprived of adequate rest, and they panted incessantly in the inescapable heat.

The investigators saw several with open, bloody wounds who didn’t appear to have received any veterinary care. Many were losing their fur because of malnourishment. In nature, civet cats eat a naturally varied diet, but kopi luwak producers make them ingest an unhealthy amount of coffee cherries in order to maximise profits.

‘Wild-Sourced’ Is Wildly Untrue

Since the release of PETA entities’ multiple exposés of the industry, spanning almost a decade, many businesses have made the compassionate decision to pull kopi luwak from their shelves and cut ties with this cruel industry. Others, including distributors in Japan, one of the biggest markets for kopi luwak, choose to continue profiting from animals’ misery for a novelty product that no one needs, despite having heard from us about the rampant cruelty.

Customers and retailers are being deceived by producers who deliberately mislabel the beans from captive civet cats as “wild-sourced”. PETA Asia’s investigators were told that it would be nearly impossible to collect enough wild civet cat excrement to produce the coffee. One producer admitted that a small amount of beans excreted by free-roaming civet cats may be collected and mixed with the beans excreted by caged animals and then given the misleading label “wild-sourced”. Another told an investigator who was posing as a buyer that he could just put a “wild-sourced” label the coffee produced by caged civet cats. This coffee can then be exported anywhere in the world.

One farmer explained that civet cats are generally kept caged for a maximum of three years before they’re released back into nature and that the stress of confinement and lack of adequate nutrition cause them to lose their fur. One farmer told the investigator that some civet cats don’t survive after they’re released.

Brewing the Next Pandemic

The coffee is exported all over the world, even though, following the SARS outbreak in China, researchers found that the SARS coronavirus had jumped from civet cats to humans. Scientists have also identified civet cats as a possible “intermediate host” for COVID-19, potentially allowing the virus to mutate and pass from bats to humans.

Civet cats who are “lucky” enough to survive beyond their usefulness to the kopi luwak industry are sometimes sold at live-animal markets, just like the one in which the novel coronavirus is believed to have originated, putting them in direct contact with humans and providing the perfect opportunity for SARS or some other virus to mutate and jump from one host to another.

It’s Time to Cut the Crap

Kopi luwak isn’t a delicacy – it’s a disgrace. No matter which country you’re in or what assurances you’ve received, there is no ethically produced kopi luwak. Please don’t purchase or drink it.

Please pledge never to buy or drink kopi luwak. By signing our pledge, you will receive e-mails containing top tips on what to do if you see “cat poop” coffee being sold and how to encourage others to be responsible tourists when visiting Indonesia.