Camel Profile

Three years ago in Saudi Arabia, about 2000 (with estimates as high as 5000) camels mysteriously dropped dead, suffering from symptoms including vomiting, fainting, excitability, paralysis, neurological problems, and sweating, which indicated some type of poisoning as opposed to an infectious disease. It was thought that possibly the cause could have been contaminated feed, either by insecticide or by deadly toxic fungus or mold. The deaths coincided with a major change in feed from barley to less expensive substitutes. It was called an unprecedented national tragedy at the time and the King ordered restitution to be paid to those camel owners who lost livestock during that time. Ultimately it was decided that the cause for the mysterious camel deaths was due to contaminated fodder. A mill had tried to step up its production of fodder and had inadvertently mixed in some chicken feed infused with an antibiotic that is poisonous to camels.
Camels are considered to be very resilient animals, able to survive in extreme circumstances, like severe heat and dryness, with very little water. The population of camels in the kingdom is just under one million, and camels are used as beasts of burden, as well as for racing and breeding, for their milk and their meat, and are also revered in annual camel beauty contests where the prize winner can walk away with a million dollars.


About SusieOfArabia

American woman now living in hubby's homeland of Saudi Arabia
This entry was posted in Animals, Culture, Desert, Life, Middle East, Nature, Odd or Unusual, Photo, Saudi Arabia and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Camel Profile

  1. Dina says:

    So many deaths, that is so sad. “Mistakes” like that are so tragic and so maddening.

  2. Marahm says:

    What an interesting, yet sad, story. Those poor camels… I always feel badly when I hear about animals suffering at the hands of their caretakers, even though no one meant any harm here.

    I used to drink camel’s milk, as I am also lactose intolerant, and I used to cook camel meat frequently– just one of many Saudi experiences that I miss here in the States.

  3. diane garwood says:

    Susie, If you have not had a chance to already, be sure and try a cup of camel’s milk. Husa and I drank some, when I was there, and we both enjoyed it! I liked it so much, I am wishing I could get it here. Being lactose intolerant, I cannot drink cow’s milk, but the camel’s milk was as smooth as silk to my digestion, and oh, so sweet!! Mmmm mmm good!! Maybe I should just raise my own herd of camels, then I can have the milk to drink and the wool for knitting!! 🙂

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