An investigation partially funded by PETA Australia has exposed the appalling treatment of civets who are used in the production of kopi luwak coffee, which is made from the beans of coffee berries that have been eaten and excreted – yes, you read that right! – by the Asian palm civet.
To make this vile coffee, civets are typically snatched from their homes in the wild and imprisoned in tiny, filthy cages. They’re deprived of everything that is natural and important to them, including exercise, a proper diet and space in which to roam. They often go insane from the stress of confinement, and because they are deprived of adequate nutrition, the animals often lose their fur.
A PETA Asia investigator visited several civet coffee farms and villages in Indonesia and the Philippines, two of the world’s top producers of kopi luwak and countries in which there are few laws to protect civets. Undercover video footage from these farms – some of which advertise their coffee as “wild-sourced” – shows sick civets exhibiting signs of zoochosis, a condition in which captive animals constantly spin, pace their cages and bob their heads in frantic displays of frustration.
One farmer explained that civets are generally kept caged for a maximum of three years before they’re released back into the wild, if they are not killed by disease before then. Another farmer compared civets eating too many coffee berries to humans smoking since the civets’ health deteriorates greatly during captivity because of lack of vitamins and nutrition. The same farmer told PETA Asia’s investigator that some civets don’t survive after they are released back into the wild.
Kopi luwak, which is exported to various countries, including Australia, is often advertised as “wild-sourced”. Yet the PETA Asia investigator was told by farmers that it would be nearly impossible to produce exclusively wild-sourced civet coffee and that the industry knowingly mislabels coffee from captive animals. At two farms, the investigator was told that businesses didn’t have a problem selling coffee from caged civets with a “100 percent wild-sourced” or similar label.
If you’re not interested in purchasing coffee with a side of animal abuse and dishonesty, please never purchase civet coffee. In addition, if you see kopi luwak being sold at a retailer, always speak up! Talk to the manager, send the company a letter and let us know.
Posted by Claire Fryer