Nilo-Ethiopian Studies
Online ISSN : 1881-1175
Print ISSN : 1340-329X
The Cultural Logic of Civiculture in Ethiopia
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2003 Volume 2003 Issue 8-9 Pages 35-60


Ethiopia is known as the major country where civet cat farming (civiculture) is practiced. Civiculture, having a history going back to the 12th century, is nowadays mainly conducted in southwestern Ethiopia solely by a group of Muslim called the Naggaadie or Naggaado respectively by the Oromo- and the Kaficho- speaking peoples. The exclusive practice by the group may be explained not only by the uniqueness of the practice itself, but also by the local belief that it was gifted to the group by a local Muslim holyman. This article discusses the local or“traditional”methods of civiculture and the effects of a governmental attempt to control and“modernize”the practice. The latter follows an accusation pointing out the“cruelty”of the practice, which was staged by the World Society for Protection of Animals (WSPA), an international NGO working for animal protection. I argue that the description of the practice in the WSPA report one-sidedly focuses on the“cruelty”of the practice, and attempt a counterargument based on the local logic voiced by the farmers.

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