For the first time, Animals‘ Angels is with the animals in Oman, and especially with the camels there. We check holdings, traditional markets and the loading procedures of camels, and follow several camels during their transport.
For Omani people, the camels represent in many aspects their old tradition and the proudness of their country. But this does not mean that the animals are treated in an animal-friendly way respecting their needs and personalities – as many examples, also from Europe, show – unfortunately.
Nevertheless, here in Oman our first impression is more positive than expected: At least, there is something like a basic understanding of the animals, that we completely miss in many other countries (also within EU)! For example, in several places we find self-made loading ramps (out of sand hills) where the camels are (un-)loaded. Thus, the whole loading procedure appears calmer – for all living beings involved. At the markets, there are facilities where the animals can be tied – not only for camels, but also for sheep, goats and cattle – hence, the animals are not sold with their legs being tied and lying on the ground. We also do not see any animal tied up by its horns or pulled by its legs or other parts of its body. On the contrary, some market users carry their animals in their arms or by leading them with a leash. The birds are transported in carton boxes (with air holes inside) – all this is still very rarely seen at many (Eastern) European markets!
Many of the camel loadings we document seem to be calmer and better organized than in other places we’ve been to. Especially in the cases of transports of ‘racing’ camels who are very valuable for their owners. Normally, these camels are in close contact to human beings, are trained and react to the voice signals of their owners. Therefore, they walk onto the transport vehicles and lie down by following the voice instructions of their owner, without being thrown violently onto the ground.
But besides all these relatively positive impressions (compared to other countries), of course, there is still a lot to improve: e. g. also the camels here in Oman are transported in sitting position, which means that they lie on their legs tied together. Even though this sitting position is a natural posture, the camels are forced into it, if they want or not – and often they have to endure in this position over long distances and without any shade. This is not acceptable, as well as the transport of ‘slaughter’ camels or young, untrained camels who have not learned the voice instructions yet. Like we’ve observed in other countries, these camels are often forced onto the transport vehicles in a very rough and brutal way.
In our opinion, these transport methods have nothing to do with respectful handling. Therefore, we plan to write a thorough report about camel transports in different countries to show the problems concerning their welfare, and to raise consciousness for these beautiful creatures. With this investigation, we were able to successfully collect new, revealing footage and information for our purpose.