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Have you heard of Kopi Luwak, a type of coffee that can cost as much as $100 a cup? It’s coffee made from partially-digested coffee berries that have been eaten and then excreted by the Asian palm civet. This coffee was traditionally made by collecting the feces of civet cats found in the wild in Indonesia. Sadly, today, it is much more common for Kopi Luwak coffee producers to keep civets in battery cages and force feed them the coffee berries, similar to inhumane foie gras production with ducks and geese.
If you think that cup of Kopi Luwak is so expensive because civet dung is being harvested in small quantities in the wild, think again. Hand collected Kopi Luwak coffee is extremely rare. It’s more likely that this expensive coffee comes from captured civets that are kept in cramped cages and forced to eat the coffee, leading to illness from poor nutrition and mental distress from confinement that often makes the once-wild civets constantly circle their cages and even gnaw on their own limbs.
Animal advocates who have conducted investigations of coffee civet cat farms report that horrific animal abuse is the norm in Kopi Luwak production. Many of the coffee farmers are inexperienced in animal care, and the civets are kept in extremely poor conditions. The Asian palm civet is a solitary wild animal and suffers greatly when kept in confined spaces and in close contact with other civets.
Interested in learning more about this issue? Check out the Kopi Luwak: Cut the Crap campaign on Facebook.
You can also watch this video on coffee civet farming from PETA UK:
Photo credits: luwak (civet cat) by surtr; Luwak Coffee by Sarah_Ackerman; sad luwak by Stefan Magdalinski; civet by oliver.dodd; Drinking Civet Cat Coffee by Annie Mole (all via Flickr)
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