WSPA has just announced that a number of merchants have decided to no longer sell Kopi Luwak coffee because of the often inhumane conditions under which the civets needed to produce this coffee are maintained. I have had the opportunity to taste this coffee and, while it was delicious, did make me uncomfortable, since I avoid products that are derived from animals; I can see now that I was justified in my caution. The Guardian published this article about the treatment of civets in the production of kopi luwak coffee. Some pertinent observations:
“The conditions are awful, much like battery chickens,” said Chris Shepherd, deputy regional director of the conservation NGO Traffic south-east Asia. “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.”
“There is a high mortality rate and for some species of civet, there’s a real conservation risk. It’s spiralling out of control. But there’s not much public awareness of how it’s actually made. People need to be aware that tens of thousands of civets are being kept in these conditions. It would put people off their coffee if they knew.”
My thanks to WSPA, an organization which I have supported for years, for bringing pressure on merchants to take a stand against this treatment.