World Society for the Protection of Animals expresses concern over Kopi Lewak

The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) issued a statement in mid-September expressing animal welfare concerns related to the practices of harvesting civet coffee.  “Behind the world's most expensive coffee are huge animal welfare concerns,” the WSPA said in the statement. Selling for up to $100 per cup, civet coffee or 'Kopi Luwak' is made from coffee beans that small cat-like mammals, known as civets, partially digest as cherries, then excrete as coffee beans. WSPA says that while some of this coffee is still sourced harmlessly and traditionally by local people gathering civet droppings in the wild, the WSPA says that it has seen “disturbing evidence that civets are increasingly caged in cruel and inadequate conditions in South East Asia to increase yield of beans”. The organisation says that the tiny cages lead to the civets acting out in abnormal and harmful behaviours, such as pacing and self-mutilation. It also claims that civets are captured from the wild using cruel methods and often suffer from injuries, infections, disease and premature death.  The WSPA says it can be difficult for consumers to source cage-free civet coffee, as some producers mix caged coffee beans with cage-free beans before selling it on.  “Consumers, retailers and the governments of producing countries need to join with WSPA to help prevent this cruel practice,” said WSPA Wildlife campaign leader, Dr Neil D’Cruze, in a statement. “It is needless and inhumane and together we can put that right.” WSPA said it would like to see the introduction of an accredited certification scheme as standard for humane ‘cage-free’ civet coffee.     

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