Civet

The Civet Cat is a rather cute animal. Sort of cat-like, but actually from the Viverridae family – the animal is native to Africa, Madagascar, the Iberian Peninsula, southern China, and Southeast Asia. Strangely, we humans have taken a liking to this fuzzy critters poop and anal gland secretions. We’ve been wearing it in our fragrances and drinking coffee beans that pass through (if you know what I mean).

The smelly stuff, which is also called civet, that comes out of the perineal glands (near the anus) is quite musky and acts as a stabilizing agent in fragrances – it extends the life of the overall smell, their olfactory duration, if you will. Left to itself in nature, the musk is very offensive, has been known to induce vomiting in humans, and can smell for up to four months. In order to harvest the secretion, the civet must be killed or have the thick, yellow grease painfully scraped from the gland’s anal sac. The civet’s secretions must be combined with alcohol and other chemicals to bring out its “pleasant musky odor”.  It is rumored that civet cats produce more secretions when they are under stress, so many of the farmers hit their cages to keep them scared. Fortunately, synthetic civetone has been synthesized from precursor chemicals found in palm oil, but many supposed “high-quality” perfume manufacturers still prefer torturing these unfortunate and smelly animals. There are other animals also used for their smells.

And if you didn’t think this poor animal already had it tough, people have been drinking incredibly expensive coffee that has been shat out after these guys eat the coffee cherries. It sorta looks like a Babe Ruth bar, no? At first, people collected the wild droppings, but now they’ve realized that farming the civets yields greater revenue. The whole demand for the crappuccino comes from the distinct and rare flavor that occurs from the fermentation process inside the civets stomach. Now, I know there are people out there who are scientists. Can’t you think of more intelligent way to ferment coffee cherries?

Fortunately, someone has done just that. According to poopcoffee.com, “The Trung Nguyen Coffee Company hired a German scientist to research the chemical processes that occur in the Civet’s stomach, and in 1996 scientists were able to isolate six specific digestive enzymes and then use these enzymes to create a synthetic soak known as Legendee, which they patented. “

When you cage a wild animal, you prevent it from doing  anything that nature intended it to do. It is emotional and physical torture for wild animals to be locked up – and this is no exception, no matter how delicious the coffee tastes, it’s still shitty. No matter how amazing the fragrance smells, it’s still shitty. Free the civet cats!

New York Times: A civet farm in Liwa, a town in Sumatra, where the catlike animals eat coffee cherries. Their droppings contain coffee beans fermented in their stomachs.