Milk and Meat preference of Camel
The camel's milk is a gift from God for the Arab Bedouins. In the Holy Quran the true worth of the camel has been described. The desert dwellers when turned to God in complaint about the climate and lack of food, God heard their pleas and came to their aid; "He sent them the cow camel to drink her milk and they became well". In Ethiopia it is it is usually drunk fresh, while in India some camel milk which is not drunk fresh is fermented to produce Kumiss. It has been reported that sometimes surplus camel milk is given to the horses and foals. Butter, ghee, curd and cheese can be prepared from camel milk, but most of it consumed fresh. In Syria, camel milk is consumed as fresh raw or soured with dates and usually it meets the household needs. Camel milk in particular is regarded as a valuable food product. The importance of milk in the diet of the Somalis is clearly shown by their adage, ‘apart from milk, everything else is raw'. It is regarded as superior to all other kinds of milk, and can be used fresh, slightly sour and sour.
Camel meat is praised for its good quality, especially if it is derived from the calf. The major meat contents i.e. moisture, protein, fat and ash are reported as 71, 21.4, 4.4 and 1.1% respectively. Camels are good potential meat producers especially in arid regions where other meat-producing animals do not thrive. They grow well and yield carcasses of a comparable weight to beef cattle if optimal management conditions are provided. Camel meat, especially from young animals, contains low fat with low cholesterol as well as being a good source of amino acids and minerals. They further stated that some reports that camel meat is less tender than beef are probably due, at least in part, to the higher average animal age. They recommended that more research work in areas of meat production, technology, marketing, and social awareness is needed to exploit the potential of camels as a source of meat.
Many factors drive the slaughtering rate of camel. Though camel meat is preferred in some countries, but not often slaughtered due to high prices and slow herd growth rate. Camel is mainly slaughtered in Ethiopia on special occasions, like festival, wedding, mourning, physical damage of the animal, for preying and arrival of guests. Other studies done in Ethiopia reported that mutton was preferred to camel meat, which came second in popularity. They further said that owing to their poor reproductive performance, camels are not efficient for producing meat. Other occasions when camels may be slaughtered are during very important religious ceremonies and weddings, or when camels are either crippled by predators or seriously injured. In northern Kenya, camel meat is readily eaten by the Somali nomadic pastoralists, regarded as a high-quality food, and was preferred to that of other livestock. However, in pastoral production systems, they are generally too valuable to slaughter and are therefore not eaten frequently. Even on such occasions, female camels are rarely slaughtered.
It is not necessarily true that camel meat is not preferred due to its salty taste but general know how about camel meat on overall basis is lacking. A comprehensive study about camel slaughtering and meat use is still lacking, but a good number of camel is slaughtered only at the occasion of Eid-ul-Azha while in very rare cases like religious festivals and marriages, some individuals are slaughtered.
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