Australia Considers Exporting Camel Meat

April 26, 2011

An Egyptian businessman wants to open a slaughterhouse in rural Southern Australia that could turn 100,000 camels a year into a lucrative, exotic meat option. Whereas so many of us see camels as humped, peaceful creatures, Magdy el Ashram and many other Australians see them as pests and potential protein sources.

Camels first came to Australia from India as a source of transportation around 1840. At a certain point, some of the animals escaped or were released (the history books aren't particularly in agreement). With no natural predators, the feral camel population spiked by an average of 10 percent annually. There are currently well over 1 million camels in the Australian outback and the species can double its population in just 9 years.

Until now. If el Ashram has his way, a slaughterhouse would process the animals according to Muslim tradition and their meat would be exported to the Middle East. In that region, the animal's lean meat is prized as a food source. Many consider it far superior to beef.

"Camel meat is much better than's the lesser fat than all the meat kingdom. If you put beef, mutton, kangaroo, emu, any meat, then camel meat will be the lesser fat than all of them," el Ashram told Reuters.

Many Middle Easterners consider Australian camel meat to be some of the best in the world. If el Ashram's plan goes forward, more than 14,000 tons of meat would be sent to the Middle East at a value of around $27 million. Currently, Australia only slaughters around 3,000 camels annually.

Would you eat camel meat? Do you think it will catch on in other parts of the world?

Photo by Irene2005