View of part of the Fujairah Corniche and the Hajar Mountains in the Background

Monday, August 24, 2009

Camels Slaughtered in Australia while Camel Festivals Held in the Emirates

On the surface, the attitude of Aussies and Emiratis towards camels couldn’t be more different.

Care for a Camel Burger?
Camels in Oz were imported from the Middle East but the Australian government is flying in marksmen on helicopters to shoot 650,000 camels which will be turned into burgers and other meaty treats.

The action is creating a roar in the big brown land. With more than a million of the humped beasts on the continent the camels are creating havoc in the outback where the vegetation is scarce. They are taking the grass needed by other animals and they are breaking water pipes in their quest for water.

$16 million is the cost to cull the camels! One wonders how much they will get in return for the sale of camel burgers.

Meanwhile in the Emirates
The culling and killing of all these camels would seem haram [forbidden; anathema] to Emiratis who have just commenced Ramadan.

Camel Milk Chocolates
Emiratis do serve camel meat dishes but they are better known for their camel beauty contests, their growing industry with Camelicious (camel milk) and the sale of camel milk chocolates which is going viral.

Almost Bigger than Melbourne Cup
This month (from 25 August to the end of Eid) the Marmoom Ramadan Camel Festival is being held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, and Chairman of Dubai Sports Council. The festival takes the form of camel races for different age groupings and types of camel, with associated cultural events.

The best camel, the Marmoom Star, will receive a cash prize of AED4 million (Aus $A1,297,854 Australian; $US1,088,998), which is a large sum even if it is not as much as the $A5,650,000 prize for the winner of this year’s Emirates Melbourne Cup.

Return Camels to Arabia
With the camel milk chocolate farm in the UAE finding they can’t produce enough camels to keep up with their Lady Godiva treats and camels in the Emirates fetching prices of up to $2.7 million, one wonders if the Aussies have talked to the Emiratis about their camel surplus. Has Prime Minister Rudd spoken to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum with a view to returning the camels to the Arabian Peninsula from whence they came?

Ramadan Pardon for Camels
In this Ramadan season of pardon, could not His Highness Sheikh Mohammed and His Highness Sheikh Hamdan, save 650,000 camels from their death sentence and agree to ship them back to the Emirates?

Australian Government Considers Trimming Camel Population, AP, 10 August 2009.

Brendan Borrell, Camel Burgers: Australia Plans to Shoot 650,000 Camels, Scientific American Blog, 11 August 2009.

DMI’s Dubai Racing to Offer exclusive Coverage of Marmoom Ramadan camel Festival, Dubai City Guide, 20 August 2009.

UAE Camels Working Hard to Produce Camel Milk Chocolate, ETE, 23 July 2009.

Camel Milk—Taste and See, ETE, 25 October 2006.

10 Reasons to Pet or Ride a Camel When you Visit the Emirates, ETE, 3 June 2009.

On Related Sites
Fujairah Ruler Extends Ramadan Greetings, Fujairah in Focus, 23 August 2009.

Harrison Ford Adds to the America’s Cup Drama, America’s Cup in the UAE, 23 August 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

Geoff can be contacted by email at geoffpound(at) on Facebook and Twitter.

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Image: “They are taking the grass needed by other animals.”