A new PETA Asia undercover investigation warns tourists about a certain coffee that may be brewing the next pandemic.
Made from the beans of coffee berries that have been eaten and excreted by the Asian palm civet cat, this coffee, which is known as “kopi luwak” or “civet cat poop coffee,” can be found in cafés and coffee gardens in Bali and elsewhere. Unsuspecting tourists from all over the world, including the United States, visit such cafés, where they’re duped into buying the coffee and seeing the normally solitary civets in a setting that hides their cruel treatment. Now, tourists can see what really happens to civet cats who are exploited for coffee.
PETA Asia investigators visited civet cat farms in Bali, Indonesia, and found deplorable conditions at every one. They also went to a live-animal market, where potentially sick civet cats are sold, and saw how easily they could spread deadly diseases to other animals, including humans.
The Next Disease Outbreak Is Brewing“Kopi luwak,” is made by capturing Asian palm civet cats in their natural habitat in Indonesia when they’re about 6 months old, keeping them in miserably small cages, feeding them an unnatural diet containing an excessive amount of coffee berries, and then harvesting the coffee beans that they excrete in their feces. 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 can sometimes be sold to 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.
Cruelty in a CupIn addition to the infection risk that civet cat farms pose, investigators found pervasive cruelty at each farm they visited, including keeping civet cats confined to barren, filthy cages encrusted with feces, dirt, and decomposing berries and often covered with cobwebs.
These nocturnal animals prefer to rest in secluded tree canopies during the day. But on the farms, they were kept mostly in outdoor cages in the sunlight, with no dark, quiet spot to sleep in, adding to their misery and poor health. Some panted constantly in the heat.
Many had painful open wounds and didn’t appear to be receiving any veterinary care. They exhibited abnormal behavior such as biting their own tails and repeatedly pacing back and forth, indicating severe psychological distress.
Investigators saw one civet cat who appeared to be blind but was still being used for kopi luwak production.
Labeling LiesWhile kopi luwak is often advertised as “wild-sourced,” one farmer told an investigator that it would be nearly impossible to produce it exclusively from wild sources. A producer also suggested deliberately mislabeling coffee from captive animals.
He admitted that they collect a small amount of the feces produced by free-roaming civet cats and mix it in with the feces from the caged civet cats so they can claim that their coffee is wild-sourced.
It's Time to Cut the CrapCoffee made from beans excreted by imprisoned, stressed, unhealthy animals who have been deprived of everything that would make their lives worthwhile isn’t a delicacy—it’s a disgrace.
While kopi luwak is produced in Indonesia, PETA Asia’s investigators visited farms that export it overseas. No matter where you are or what assurances you receive, please don’t purchase or drink kopi luwak.
Help us spread the word to travelers about the suffering endured by civet cats for kopi luwak production.