calls attention to a growing global camel shortage
"The stock of meat-producing camels in (Saudi Arabia) decreased from a high of 426,000 in 1997 to just 260,000 today, a drop of 39 percent, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization. Thousands of camels are slaughtered every year during the hajj pilgrimage -- hence the need for imports.
"But where to get them? The animals were once as common as squirrels in Pakistan, but the country's camel population is now down to about 700,000 thanks largely to demand from the camel-racing industry in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states. Overall, the Asian camel population decreased nearly 20 percent between 1994 and 2004.
"The biggest winner has been Australia, which boasts the world's largest remaining population of wild camels -- descendants of the animals brought by British settlers from India in the 19th century -- and has profited from the demand by shipping the animals to Saudi Arabia to be slaughtered for food."
Labels: Environment, Saudi Arabia