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He's Raising Camels For Meat
Low cattle prices, extended drought conditions, and an abundance of wild camels have prompted cattle producers in Australia's outback to take a long, hard look at raising the drought-tolerant animals for market.
Six months ago Australian cattle producer Peter Seidel trucked a mixed load of cattle and camels to market. The steers netted just $53 a head while the camels netted $170 a head.
Wild camels have always been regarded as more of a pest than anything else in Australia. There are currently more than 250,000 running free. Recently, however, an association of camel producers was formed and at least 12 producers - each with between 100 and 400 head of breeding camels - have started running camels with their cattle.
The advantage of running camels alongside cattle is that scientists have discovered that the rumen bacteria which enables goats and camels to digest all kinds of scrub brush in rough country will work the same way in cattle if camels and cattle are run together so that cattle pick up the bacteria at watering points.
Peter Seidel, chairperson of the Central Australian Camel Industry Association, says about 1,400 camels will be butchered for human consumption this year. Most of the meat is marketed in the tourist areas of northern Australia, al-though some is being sold through Woolworths and other stores.
"Camel meat is very similar to beef but the fat is pure white," says Seidel, noting that the animals are rich in by-products. The hump yields as much as 110 lbs. of solid white fat and the leather can be turned into distinctive boots, hats, jackets, etc.
"We're developing a camel oil sun-screen, soaps, cosmetics and a cooking oil which is claimed to have significantly less cholesterol than other animal fats," Seidel says.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Peter Seidel, Central Australian Camel Industry Association, Alice Springs, Australia.
Photo & story reprinted from Australian Farm Journal

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1997 - Volume #21, Issue #1