“I’m posting again as there seems to be a problem with people copying this link.!
“Well you learn something everyday! I had no idea that coffee was made out of civet poop! Hopefully it will put people off drinking it, then the poor things won’t be caged like battery hens; so pass the word around!!”
Civet coffee, or kopi luwak, was described as the “rarest beverage in the world” in the 2007 film The Bucket List, and it retails for £70 ($105) a cup in London, but a less-than-glamorous scandal may be brewing for the drink.
Producers of kopi luwak, based primarily in Indonesia, are facing accusations of “horrific” abuse against the civets, who are kept in cages and fed a diet comprising almost exclusively coffee berries in order to produce a usable excrement. The creation of the predigested coffee has transformed a small rural trade into an intensive farming industry, the Guardian notes.
The reporter from the British paper visited a café on the Indonesian island of Sumatra and discovered a female civet confined to a tiny cage in the back of the shop. The Guardian also found the creature’s two young offspring in a separate cramped enclosure, as well as 20 other civets in concealed cages on the roof of the building.
(PHOTOS: Kopi Luwak: The World’s Priciest Coffee)
According to the paper, animal-welfare groups believe comparable civet “farms” are cropping up across Southeast Asia and creating a serious ethical problem. As of now, tens of thousands of the animals are likely cooped up in cages and forced to live on the unwholesome berry diet. Although Asian palm civets, called luwak in Indonesian, are not endangered, a similar species called the binturong is also used for kopi luwak and has been classified as “vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
“The conditions are awful, much like battery chickens,” Chris Shepherd, deputy regional director of the conservation group Traffic in Southeast Asia, told the Guardian. “The civets are taken from the wild and have to endure horrific conditions. They fight to stay together, but they are separated and have to bear a very poor diet in very small cages.”
Shepherd said the conservation risk comes from the high mortality rate of some civet species, as those figures are “ spiralling out of control.” He noted that there is little public awareness about how kopi luwak is made.
“It would put people off their coffee if they knew,” Shepherd said.