Ozzy camel meat to come to the Middle East

Australia to export 'pest' camels for sale in the Middle East

Camels are seen as a pest in Australia.
Camels are seen as a pest in Australia.

An Egyptian businessman based in Australia is planning the first industrial-scale attempt to process camel meat in Australia in accordance with halal dietary laws for export to the Middle East.

Magdy el Ashram plans to build a plant to slaughter up to 100,000 camels annually, he told the Wall Street Journal.

Camels are seen as a pest in Australia, blamed for devastating wilderness and farmland. Introduced in the first half of the 19th century, they now roam in numbers that exceed a million and, if left unchecked, the Australian government predicts that the camel population could double in the next decade.

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Ashram plans to pay local Aboriginal communities to track and capture the wild animals, which roam freely across vast areas of Australia’s outback and can be difficult to find even with a helicopter.

Once captured in the bush, the camels will be trucked back to Port Pirie, where they'll be slaughtered in adherence with strict Muslim guidelines. The camel meat will then be frozen and sent 110 miles south to Port Adelaide for export.

"The quality of the camel in Australia is recognised in the Middle East as being some of the best in the world," said Blair Brice, an official at Australian industry marketing group Meat & Livestock Australia Ltd., who previously worked as a representative in the industry body's Persian Gulf office in Bahrain.

Camel meat is appearing on more menus in Middle East urban centres, such as Bur Dubai’s Local House Coffee Shop and Restaurant, which claims to sell 150 camel burgers a day in addition to camel ribs, camel steak and camel soup.

Australia is already big supplier of meat to the Middle East. Last year, the region accounted for 31% of Australia's global lamb and mutton exports by volume, with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan amongst the biggest markets, according to the Australian Department of Agriculture.

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