This website is established to raise awareness of civet coffee consumers on civet conservation problems, as well as civet welfare and zoonotic diseases that might associate with civet (coffee) farms in Vietnam.
For a decade, wild civets have been captured, hunted and snared to sustain civet (coffee) farms and wild meat restaurants. Many species e.g., Owston’s Civet, Large-spotted Civet, Binturong are threatened to extinction due to overexploitation, hunting and trapping for illegal wildlife trade, part of that is to supply civet farms. All civet species in Vietnam are globally threatened.
Wild civets are often injured seriously by traps/snares when sending to the farms, where they are caged in unhygienic conditions and small spaces. They are weak and malnourished due to lack of suitable food and forced to eat coffee i.e., civets are left hungry the whole day so that they could eat more coffee fruits and produce better civet coffee. The main consumers of civet coffee in Vietnam are tourists from different parts of the world, including America, Europe, Russia, Korea, Japan, etc. and wealthy people in Southeast Asia.
Civet meat is one of the most popular wild meat consumed in Vietnam, Laos and China. Civet farms are legal in Vietnam, however, there are no clear methods guided on how to raise them in captivity and no biosecurity standards. Many civets have died due to poisons and malnourishment from consuming too many coffee fruits.
In 2020, we conducted surveys among 57 civet farms in Lam Dong and Dak Lak province in Vietnam, more than 50% restocked wild civets to supply their farms, which affect the wild civet populations. Among these civets, Owston’s Civet is classified as Endangered, Binturong as Vulnerable in the IUCN Red List were found in those farms. Binturong has not been detected in Vietnam’s forests for decades but was found in farms.
Since the husbandry conditions are poor, the animals are in an immuno-compromised stage and vulnerable to zoonosis, which could transfer to humans and cause thousands of dead, e.g., SARS, MERS, etc. The mortality rate was high among these farms, seven farms surveyed closed because all their civets died due to unknown diseases
Civet coffee: delicacy or detriment?
Farmed civets are often force-fed to produce as much coffee as possible
Farms and quality control are often unregulated. Regular coffee beans are often mixed with civet coffee and sold to unknowing consumers
High profitability of coffee comes at a cost of lifetime suffering for farmed animals
Civet farms: a nightmare for welfare
Most farms do not and cannot provide animals with their natural diet, and access to clean water is extremely limited
Inadequate hygiene conditions and lack of proper medicines make civet farms a lurking potential source of the next pandemic
Cramped battery caging is detrimental to the mental and physical health of civets, which are solitary animals by nature.
“Cage-free” farms often do not guarantee 100% “cage-free” operation
Wildlife impact of civet coffee
Civets and other animals are either directly taken from the wild or illegally traded.
All civet species in Vietnam are globally threatened
Threatened animals, even those that do not produce coffee, are taken as well, pushing them one step closer to extinction
Our Work in Lam Dong and Dak Lak
Between June and December 2020, we surveyed 57 civet farms at Lam Dong and Dak Lak, two of the most intensive civet coffee farming provinces in Vietnam.
⅓ of surveyed farms have other animals than civets, including threatened species
>200 civets at one farm died at once due to disease
<1m2 is the average size of an enclosure for each civet, comparing to their natural home range of hundreds of hectares
Less than 20% of surveyed farms vaccinated the civets
Who we are?
Save Vietnam’s Wildlife is a wildlife conservation non-profit organisation in Vietnam that was founded on the critical need for more effective solutions to secure a future for Vietnam’s wildlife. After 7 years of operation, we have rescued thousands of animals from the illegal wildlife trade, and successfully rehabilitated and reintroduced hundreds of them to the wild.
Bell, D., Roberton, S., & Hunter, P. R. (2004). Animal origins of SARS coronavirus: Possible links with the international trade in small carnivores. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences, 359(1447), 1107–1114. https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2004.1492
Carder, G., Proctor, H., Schmidt-Burbach, J., & D’cruze, N. (2016). The animal welfare implications of civet coffee tourism in Bali. Animal Welfare, 25(2), 199–205. https://doi.org/10.7120/096272220.127.116.11
Karesh, W. B., Cook, R. A., Bennett, E. L., & Newcomb, J. (2005). Wildlife Trade and Global Disease Emergence. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 11(7), 3.
Nijman, V., Spaan, D., Rode-Margono, E. J., Roberts, P. D., & Nekaris, K. A. I. (2014). Trade in Common Palm Civet Paradoxurus hermaphroditus in Javan and Balinese markets, Indonesia. 51, 8.
Shepherd, C. R. (2008). Civets in trade in Medan, North Sumatra, Indonesia (1997–2001) with notes on legal protection. 3.
Shepherd, C. R. (2012). Observations of small carnivores in Jakarta wildlife markets, Indonesia, with notes on trade in Javan Ferret Badger Melogale orientalis and on the increasing demand for Common Palm Civet Paradoxurus hermaphroditus for civet coffee production. 47, 4.
Shepherd, C. R., & Shepherd, L. A. (2010). The trade in Viverridae and Prionodontidae in Peninsular Malaysia with notes on conservation and legislation. 4.
WCS. (2008). Commercial wildlife farms in Vietnam: A problem or solution for conservation? Wildlife Conservation Society. Hanoi, Vietnam.
Vũ Thị Quyên, Ronan Carvill, Bùi Thị Hà, Douglas Hendrie, David Orders, Aaron Pardy, Greg Nagle, 2017. Một số tồn tại trong hoạt động gây nuôi thương mại động vật hoang dã tại Việt Nam. Trung tâm Giáo dục Thiên nhiên (ENV).
Ye, Z.-W., Yuan, S., Yuen, K.-S., Fung, S.-Y., Chan, C.-P., & Jin, D.-Y. (2020). Zoonotic origins of human coronaviruses. International Journal of Biological Sciences, 16(10), 1686–1697. https://doi.org/10.7150/ijbs.45472