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Allevatori di cammelli


L’Australia esporta moltissime pecore vive, specialmente durante il Ramadan.

Oggi scopro che qualcuno, laggiù, intende commerciare in carne di cammello, o in cammelli vivi.

L’idea nasce perché la crescita della popolazione di cammelli in Australia, come a suo tempo quella di conigli, sta diventando un problema ambientale.

Invece di ammazzarli e basta, dice un imprenditore, varrebbe la pena di pensare alla loro commercializzazione.

Australia – The worlds largest camel population

The world’s largest feral camel population is not to be found roaming the Sahara Desert. It is munching its way, virtually unchecked, through the land of the kangaroo.

Interfering with native species, destroying bush tucker resources and causing millions of dollars in damage to farming infrastructure, the estimated herd of 1.2 million camels could double in the next 8 to 10 years, according to wildlife experts.

The Australian government is proposing urgent action to limit their numbers.
But not everyone sees the animals as pests. Some see the invasive species as a potential economic resource that can be harvested to provide much-needed income and employment to Australia’s rural communities.
Camelus dromedarius, the one-humped dromedary, first made its way down under in 1840, to assist in the exploration of the arid interior. Many more were imported from Rajasthan, India, in subsequent years to be used as draft animals. Camels made possible the construction of the 3,200-kilometer, or 2,000-mile, overland telegraph line between Adelaide, in South Australia, and Darwin, in the north, completed in 1872; and the 1,700-kilometer transcontinental railroad from Port Augusta in the south to Kalgoorlie in the west, completed in 1917.
But automobiles and trucks made camel trains obsolete. By the 1920s, some 20,000 working camels had been abandoned in the desert. Their descendants took their revenge, multiplying exponentially.
Today Australia has the only single-hump feral camel population in the world, spread over an estimated 3 million square kilometers, or 1.2 million square miles — an area close to one-third the land mass of the United States.
Paddy McHugh, an outback entrepreneur, describes himself as “a one-man band” when it comes to the camel industry in Australia. For the past 30 years, he has built a business around the lumbering giants, capturing them from the wild and selling them for meat and live export, as well as tourism and racing. He calls the federal government’s plan to cull 670,000 feral camels over the next four years, at an estimated cost of 19 million Australian dollars, or $17 million, “just ridiculous.”
Shooting the camels, Mr. McHugh says, “won’t fix the problem because they’ll still come back in 10 years’ time. The only way to fix this is through a commercial outcome.
“If the government spent that money on developing the industry it would be worth a fortune.”
While the domestic market for camel products is limited in Australia, Mr. McHugh says the international demand is huge. “In the last 18 months I’ve had 37 countries and just under 1,000 separate e-mails looking for anything from camel meat, milk and live export,” he said.
Lauren Brisbane, a researcher at the Australian Camel Industry Association, agrees with Mr. McHugh that world market demand is increasing. “We can’t fill the markets that we have,” she said. “We’re turning people away on a weekly basis.”
The biggest market is in the Middle East, where camels are highly valued as stock animals and their meat has traditionally been considered a delicacy. But now, she says, the market is poised for wider growth: high in protein and low in cholesterol, camel is “a very healthy meat.”
“It’s not just the meat,” Ms. Brisbane added, “but the milk, the wool; there’s even a market for urine.”
According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, the world market for camel milk could be
worth as much as $10 billion. And interest is growing: Emirates Industry for Camel Milk & Products, based in Dubai, is already selling its Camelicious brand milk widely in the Arab market and was approved in July by E.U. health regulators as the first major supplier to Europe.
If Australia is to tap into this burgeoning market, however, and turn camels into a serious export revenue earner, Ms. Brisbane says, “We have to move from being based on a feral harvest to a domesticated camel industry.”
“Camels are a very good fit in Australia as a pastoral animal. They’re far more suited to our climate than cattle, because they are an arid animal,” she added. “A pastoral camel industry is a really environmentally responsible way of changing how we manage our land.”
A pastoral camel trial was conducted by the mining giant BHP Billiton near Olympic Dam in South Australia between 1998 and 2008. The aim of the “Well Managed Camel” program was “to investigate the commercial and environmental viability of camels as a diversification option in marginal
cattle country,” said Fiona Martin, a company spokeswoman.
The trial, which at its peak had a herd of 425 camels, found them to be well suited to drought conditions. It also found that they reduced the spread of woody weed plants, that their soft feet did not break up the top soil and that they were easily worked in conventional cattle yards.
A pastoral camel industry could offer an ecological alternative to the government’s plan to cull while providing an additional income source for farmers and indigenous communities in the remotest parts of the country. Yet the government is not jumping at the idea.
Mark Ashley, the general manager for commercial development at Ninti One, the commercial arm of the government’s feral camel management plan, says that the most problematic issue is transport.
Because of their size, camels can only be transported by single-deck vehicles. So, while they may be in overabundance in the center of the continent, transport costs to domestic markets — let alone international ones — are extremely high.
Moreover, Mr. Ashley says, there is a lack of appropriately located and accredited processing facilities for camel meat, further hindering profitability for landowners.
Mr. McHugh agrees. “The way to fix the problem in Australia — and this is what badly needs to happen — is to build one or two more abattoirs where camel meat can be processed,” he said.
Three companies now operate in Australia to slaughter camels for human consumption. Two of these are accredited as halal, capable of supplying camel meat to a Muslim market.
Ivan Coulter, owner of Windy Hills Australian Game Meats, has been exporting camel meat from South Australia for the last three years. He, too, says that better infrastructure and larger abattoirs are needed for camels to become a long-term sustainable industry in Australia.
“Private industries can’t do it on their own,” he said. “We need help from the government.”
Education is the key to changing the government’s attitude, says Mr. McHugh. The availability of training resources and information on camel husbandry is limited in Australia, and more research is needed to promote awareness, he said.
For now, the politicians and their advisers still have their heads in the sand: “The potential for this is huge, it’s massive what can happen, and yet we sort of sit on our hands and knees,” he said.
“I go to endless meetings with government officials, and they just don’t seem to see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

viaAustralia – The worlds largest camel population.

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5 Responses to Allevatori di cammelli

  1. minos on 2010-09-12 at 08:19

    forse un po’ OT, ma sempre sull’islam-mercato:
    (il dummy vuol far vedere che sta attento…)

    • Lorenzo Declich on 2010-09-13 at 10:25

      sei il miglior dummy del paese :-)))

      • minos on 2010-09-13 at 15:55

        *arrosisce pesticchiando col piedino*

  2. […] La cosa è verosimile, visto anche come si sta attrezzando un suo competitor, l’Australia, in merito al businness delle pecore morte e dei cammelli. […]

  3. […] Motivo per cui, come scrivevo tempo fa, c’è qualcuno che in Australia pensa di commercializzarne la carne. […]

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