Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Coffee Luwak, Unethically Produced?

Being sold at around 90 US dollars a cup in the coffee-shops of the world’s major metropolitan areas, would you ever consider boycotting coffee luwak if you find out that it was unethically produced? 

By: Ringo Bones 

Once considered a freebie by coffee plantation workers in the Malay Peninsula since the 18th Century, that is before the world’s coffee connoisseurs discovered the distinctive mild tea-like taste of coffee luwak. To the uninitiated and however you spell it, coffee luwak / kopi luwak or "civet coffee" is made – or more accurately brewed from - coffee berries that had been eaten by the native wild civet cats that roam the region’s coffee plantations then passed though their digestive system. Despite “sanitation concerns” of brewing coffee form beans that had been literally picked from the droppings of wild civet cats were swiftly set aside once coffee aficionados around the world fell in love with the distinctive mild tea-like taste of coffee luwak - mainly due to the civet cat's proteolytic enzymes in its digestive system that seeps into the swallowed coffee beans resulting in shorter peptides and more free amino acids - which now often sells for around 90 US dollars a cup in posh coffee shops of the world’s major metropolitan areas. But how ethically produced are coffee lowak currently being marketed around the world today? 

Purists insists that for this product to pass muster as genuine coffee luwak – the plantation grown coffee beans must  and should be eaten by free (free range?) civet cats. But due to the ongoing deforestation of Malaysia’s tropical forests and those in the surrounding Malay Peninsula region, free / wild civet cats are fast becoming a rarity so what does an enterprising coffee lowak producer resorts to just to keep his or her bottom line fat – battery farming of civet cats? 

Unfortunately that is what they just did for over a decade now. The sad fact is that civet cats don’t adapt well in captivity and most die by having their respiratory system being infected by a SARS like virus due to being confined in close quarters whose symptoms often include a bloody stool once a typical infected civet cat passes out coffee beans with their excrement. Recent hidden camera investigation by various nature and environmental groups only confirm the mass scale of the civet cats being kept in deplorable battery farms. Dr. Neil D’Cruze of the World Society of the Protection of Animals had already called on authorities to stop the unethical production coffee luwak in the Malay Peninsula that violate existing global animal welfare laws.