Chained civet web

A call to action has been released on the World Wide Web to stop animal abuse associated with Kopi luwak. This petition, created by the World Society for the Protection of Animals, does not address the underlying fallacy behind kopi luwak –  that it is “a ridiculous, literally disgusting fad that retards the public valuation of specialty coffee” – but it’s a step in the right direction, calling for increased oversight of how civets are treated and the creation of “a recognised certification scheme.”

Kopi luwak, otherwise known as “cat shit coffee” or “that stuff from that movie,” could have merely been an early-Obama era bubble trend, but instead it continues to gain popularity worldwide. Because of its scarcity, hype, and novelty, it’s widely considered the most expensive coffee in the world. For many years, the mainstream media have lazily regurgitated stories about the outrageousness of the product, furthering its popularity. Fortunately that’s starting to change, as evidenced by recent features from TIMEThe Guardian, and RYOT News.


Kopi luwak was originally the excrement from wild civets, foraged by humans in the forests. Because of the worldwide demand, enterprising folks are streamlining the process – in other words, they’re caging civets and force feeding them coffee cherries. This new method of processing the kopi luwak increases yields and improves sales. Anecdotally, some of these farm-raised civets are kept in good condition, even treated well. But there is virtually no oversight for these farms, so a consumer has no way of knowing how civets were handled in the process of the product.

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If civet cats have to be kept for kopi luwak production – and the global market for this product seems to deem it so – then at the very least, let’s stop abusing animals for no reason in the process. This petition from the WSPA is a step in the right direction for a complex, troubling narrative.

Shot was taken on a civet farm just outside Surabaya, Indonesia

More from the petition at

The legend surrounding the production and sale of Kopi Luwak, or civet coffee, is huge. Originally civets would have naturally selected, digested and excreted coffee cherries, which made – in some circles – a highly prized coffee with a unique flavour.

However, life today for a civet is far from this quirky myth. It’s a grim reality which sees wild civets suffering from mental and physical problems, living in tiny cages, in factory farm-like conditions.

WSPA believes that consumers and retailers are unaware of the suffering captive civets endure to produce this luxury coffee, priced as if it is still an ethical, niche product.

We are asking retailers to work with us to change this. We are asking them to do three things:

  1. Make a commitment to selling only wild sourced, cage-free civet coffee
  2. Scrutinise their supply chain to ensure that their products are 100 per-cent cage-free
  3. Support WSPA’s call for a recognised certification scheme

Sign the petition here. 

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