As the world continues to deal with the effects of COVID-19 and live-animal markets operate as normal in Indonesia, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has released a shocking new video exposé of 10 civet cat farms in Bali. These farms produce coffee beans to be used for kopi luwak, which is made from the beans of coffee berries that have been eaten and excreted by the Asian palm civet. The investigation has revealed widespread cruelty in filthy conditions that also pose a threat to human health.
PETA notes that live-animal markets and farms where wild animals are kept in their own filth and have weakened immune systems are breeding grounds for zoonotic diseases and that SARS, which has an estimated fatality rate of around 15%, is known to have jumped from civet cats to humans. Civet cats who are no longer useful to the kopi luwak industry are often discarded in the forest or sold to live-animal markets. The investigation revealed that civet cats with painful wounds were kept in filthy cages near other animals at such a market in Bali, facilitating the spread of disease.
In light of the findings, PETA Asia has sent an urgent letter to Indonesian President Joko Widodo urging him to shut down the country’s kopi luwak farms immediately, for everyone’s health and well-being.
The letter reads, “As the coronavirus tightens its grip on Indonesia and the rest of the world, people are becoming increasingly alarmed by businesses involving wild-caught animals. Some of those fears can be allayed by shutting down the kopi luwak industry immediately.” The letter is available in full here.
“Filthy live-animal markets, where civet cats are packed in close to other species, are petri dishes for pandemics. It’s the last industry that should be operating as the world battles a deadly animal-borne disease,” says PETA Senior Vice President Jason Baker. “PETA is urging everyone to stop supporting the cruel and dangerous kopi luwak industry—or risk being on the wrong side of history when the next pandemic occurs.”
Despite being a protected species under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, Asian palm civets are typically captured when they’re around 6 months old; kept in filthy cages encrusted with feces, dirt, and decomposing coffee berries; and given almost nothing to eat but coffee berries—all just to produce kopi luwak. The beverage is sold around the world for over $100 per cup.
PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat or abuse in any other way” – opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview.
Photographs from the investigation are available here. Broadcast-quality video footage is available upon request. For more information, please visit PETA.org.au.