Ban on milk sale sends camels into hiding in residential areas
By Ibrahim Alawi
JEDDAH — The residents of south and east Jeddah neighborhoods have expressed deep concerns about their health after seeing camels wandering near their houses.
The shepherds with their camels tend to hide behind residential areas following the order by Makkah Emir Prince Khaled Al-Faisal prohibiting the sale of camel milk on public roads.
A large number of angry residents expressed worries about their health and the grave environmental consequences as the animals are believed to be quickly transmitting diseases such as the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) to humans. They have called upon the municipality inspectors to run intensive inspection visits in their neighborhoods.
Khalid Al-Shehri, resident of south Jeddah, said they started seeing lot of camels wandering in their neighborhood right after the order that banned selling camel milk on streets.
“The shepherds hide the camels away from municipality inspectors because they do not want to get caught and fined. This is a dangerous practice, which can turn into a grave environmental problem jeopardizing the public health,” Al-Shehri said.
When Okaz/Saudi Gazette asked one of the shepherds why they brought the camels to the neighborhoods, he said on condition of anonymity that they had no other option as the municipality inspectors were cracking down on them.
“We raise camels and sell their milk to make money. The inspectors of the municipality do not let us keep the camels in the barns and they always remove these barns, which they say are against the law. The Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture should allow us to build barns and provide us with licenses. We don’t want to hide inside residential areas,” he said.
He also said the ministry should help them get vaccinated against certain diseases, which might be transmittable by camels and should provide them with awareness programs about the proper ways of raising camels.
The Jeddah Municipality inspectors removed 495 camel barns in south and east Jeddah and confiscated all their tools as well as 72 camels in order to force the violators to evacuate the place.