PETA Asia’s latest investigation in Indonesia has found that kopi luwak, expensive coffee made from the faeces of civets, is not only cruel, but could also cause the next pandemic.
The coffee is produced by capturing Asian palm civets and feeding them an excessive amount of coffee berries and then collecting the berries from their faeces. Following the SARS outbreak in China, researchers found that the SARS coronavirus had jumped from civets to humans, but the industry hasn’t changed.
In Indonesia, PETA Asia’s investigation found civets confined to barren, filthy cages encrusted with faeces, dirt, and decomposing berries and often covered with cobwebs. Civets who are “lucky” enough to survive the abusive and unsanitary conditions until they’re no longer considered useful to the industry are often sold to live-animal markets, where any illnesses they may be harbouring can easily spread to other animals, including humans. Scientists have identified civets as a possible “intermediate host” for COVID-19, potentially allowing the virus to mutate and pass from bats to humans.