Diamonds, Fur, Caviar … and Kopi Luwak
From Wikipedia: Kopi luwak, or civet coffee, is coffee made from the beans of coffee berries which have been eaten by the Asian Palm Civet and other related civets, then passed through its digestive tract. Passing through a civet’s intestines, the beans are altered by natural enzymes, and are then defecated. After gathering, thorough washing, sun drying, light roasting and brewing, these beans yield an aromatic coffee with much less bitterness, widely noted as the most expensive coffee in the world.
The market price of the coffee creates several ethical problems. First, the caging of the civets is tragic and sad. It’s obvious that the civets are fattened and forced to digest as much coffee as possible. Given that their natural diet is altered by their captivity, how much is the flavor of the coffee affected ? Third, there are farmers claiming to be selling civet coffee, who are selling God knows what. How can you as a traveler possibly know which farmer is trying to protect the civet, and which one is exploiting the cats ?