How Distressed and Injured Indonesian Civets Are Locked in Tiny Cages and Force-Fed Beans to Make the ‘World’s Most Expensive Coffee’
ANIMAL RIGHTS - VEGETARIANISM, 17 Feb 2020
The Abuse behind Your Trendy Caffeine Fix
- Luwaks – a species of cat-like civet – used to make world’s most expensive coffee
- Animals eat and digest the coffee before the beans are ground up and sold for €500 or US$700 per Kilo.
- Activists found around 20 luwaks kept in distressing conditions in backyard farm
- One had bitten into its foot from stress, while others were pacing back and forth
12 Feb 2020 – Civets force-fed beans to create the world’s most expensive coffee have been found living in cramped and filthy cages in Indonesia.
Researchers for animal charity Lady Freethinker discovered 20 of the animals, known as luwaks, being kept behind a private home on the island of Bali.
A researcher who works for the charity and who gave her name only as Diana, told Mail Online that she found the typically nocturnal and solitary animals kept in sparse wire cages, stacked close together, in full sunlight without access to food or water.
She said all of the animals appeared skinny and one had a serious injury to its front right paw, likely from biting itself due to stress.
The luwaks were also pacing up and down – a compulsive behaviour that is typical of stressed and mentally ill animals, and likely a result of being constantly caffeinated due to their diet of coffee beans.
She said: ‘The scene was horrifying. There was wire on all four sides of the cages, no water in any of them and no food.
‘If you leave solitary animals, which are nocturnal, in an open space where people can see them and they have no block from sunlight they will be constantly scared and trying to hide themselves.’
As part of her research, Diana said she also visited petting zoos where civets were kept in better conditions, though still far from ideal.
She said workers at these places told her that most civet coffee – known as kopi luwak, literally ‘coffee from a luwak – was farmed up in the hills of Bali.
The workers told her that the luwaks were kept free-range, ate coffee beans out of large feeders, and were treated well.
But, she adds, attempts to track the farms down to check on the condition of the animals proved impossible.
They are not marked on any map, and workers at the luwak petting zoos and coffee shops are not told where they are located.
Even while posing as a coffee buyer, she was unable to get access to the farms and was instead directed to the tourist coffee shops.
Tony Wild, the coffee buyer who first introduced kopi luwak to the UK, reports that one Indonesian farm alone claims to produce 7,000kg of the coffee per year from some 240 caged luwaks.
Kopi Luwak is popularly known as ‘the world’s most expensive coffee’, with genuine products costing up to $3,500 per lb.
It was first sold in the UK by Taylor’s in the 1980s as a novelty item, but the popularity has since boomed and now several thousand kilos are sold every year.
It is popularly sold as a Christmas gift. Stores such as Chiswells and Harrods both sell it, though claim their products are ‘cruelty-free’.
The trend for digested coffee beans has also proliferated, with beans that have passed through the stomachs of Thai elephants, Brazilian jacu birds, and Bonobo monkeys all up for sale.
However, campaigners – including Mr Wild – are now calling for the ‘cruel’ trade to be stopped.
Lady Freethinker Founder Nina Jackel told Mail Online: ‘Civet cats are wasting away in barren, depressing cages just so tour companies and unscrupulous coffee sellers can make a profit.
‘It’s time to stop holding these wild animals prisoner for human greed.’
Tags: Animal Justice, Animal cruelty, Animal rights, Animal slavery
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