News last update:6 Aug 2012

Foul feed suspected for killing Saudi camels

Nearly 2,000 camels have died in Saudi Arabia from a mystery illness that first appeared two weeks ago, according to government officials. Poisoning was a more likely cause than infectious disease.

"Veterinary experts say the symptoms indicate cases of poisoning and not an infectious disease, and this accords with what camel owners have said about animal feed they bought," Agriculture Minister Fahd Bilghoneim told a news conference.

The Agriculture Ministry has said tests suggested the deaths were caused by animal feed which was contaminated by insecticide.

Camels began dying in the Dawasir Valley south of Riyadh earlier this month. Bilghoneim said 1,982 camels had since died.

Deaths have been recorded in the far south of the vast desert kingdom, from Makkah to the border of Yemen.

King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz promised compensation for owners after the government said last week that 232 camels had died in the space of four days in the Dawasir Valley.

Camels are traded by Bedouin tribes for thousands of dollars each. The animals are used for racing and are also eaten.


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