Wind of change: Aussie 'farting camels' cull under attack

Jul 04, 2011
The world's association of camel scientists has fought back angrily over Australian plans to kill wild dromedaries on the grounds that their flatulence adds to global warming. The idea is "false and stupid... a scientific aberration", the International Society of Camelid Research and Development (ISOCARD) charged, saying camels were being made culprits for a man-made problem.

The world's association of camel scientists fought back angrily on Monday over Australian plans to kill wild dromedaries on the grounds that their flatulence adds to global warming.

The idea is "false and stupid... a scientific aberration", the International Society of Camelid Research and Development (ISOCARD) charged, saying camels were being made culprits for a man-made problem.

"We believe that the good-hearted people and innovating nation of Australia can come up with better and smarter solutions than eradicating camels in inhumane ways," it said.

The kill-a-camel suggestion is floated in a paper distributed by Australia's Department of and , as part of consultations for reducing the country's .

The scheme is the brainchild of an Adelaide-based commercial company, Northwest Carbon, a land and animal management consultancy, which proposes whacking feral camels in exchange for carbon credits.

Camels were introduced to the Outback in the 19th century to help cope with hot, arid conditions.

Now they number around 1.2 million and, say some, are a pest because of the damage they inflict to vegetation and their intestinal gases.

Each camel, according to the champions of a cull, emits 45 kilos (99 pounds) of methane, the equivalent of one tonne a year in carbon dioxide (CO2), the main warming gas.

Northwest Carbon says it would shoot the camels from helicopters or corral them before sending them to an abattoir for eating by humans or pets.

But ISOCARD, an association of more than 300 researchers headquartered at al Ain University in the (UAE), said the calculations were absurd.

"The estimation of methane emission by camels is based on cattle data extrapolation," it said in a press release.

"The metabolic efficiency of camel is higher than that of cattle, (...) camels are able to produce 20-percent more milk by eating 20-percent less food, they have different digestive system and are more efficient in the utilization of poor quality roughages," it noted.

In addition, the bacterial flora of camel intestines means their digestion is closer to that of monogastric animals, such as pigs, rather than as cattle and sheep, said ISOCARD.

"Therefore, the estimation of camel methane emission is quite debatable, as well as the estimated feral population."

The 28 million camels in the world represent less than one percent of all vegetation-eating biomass, and their emissions are just a tiny fraction of those made by cattle, it argued.

"The feral dromedary should be seen as an incomparable resource in arid environments," the group said. "They can and should be exploited for food (meat and milk), skin and hides, tourism etcetera."

Australia is heavily reliant on coal-fired power and mining exports and has one of the highest per-capita carbon levels in the world.

The government plans to tax the nation's 1,000 biggest polluters for carbon emissions from mid-2012, with a fixed price giving way to a cap-and-trade scheme within five years.

To offset their emissions, polluters could buy -- CO2 or other greenhouse gases that are avoided through other schemes.

Explore further: Little Uruguay has big plans for smart agriculture

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User comments : 35

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epsi00
5 / 5 (15) Jul 04, 2011
What we are dealing with here is farting politicians not camels. Maybe we should cull politicians with a "stupidity index" higher than their IQ.
omatumr
1.8 / 5 (21) Jul 04, 2011
Until Al Gore and the UN's IPCC order the release of all experimental data at the base of their dire predictions of "An Inconvenient Truth",

I request a moratorium on additional dire climate forecasts by those receiving government research funds.

The key issue is just this, and nothing else:

Do we face "An Inconvenient Truth" or

"A Convenient Untruth" for politicians?

That is the question.

With kind regards,
Oliver K. Manuel
Former NASA Principal
Investigator for Apollo
Kingsix
3 / 5 (8) Jul 04, 2011
I don't have all the facts, but from what I know Australia has many problems with feral species. Unless there would be some issue that would occur with their slaughter, I see no reason why they shouldn't cull down these animals, or even try to eradicate them.
tk1
4.6 / 5 (7) Jul 04, 2011
Kingsix: Culling is not the issue, the reason for the culling is.
omatumr
1.4 / 5 (19) Jul 04, 2011
First the camels. Then the deformed, the mentally-ill, the old. Such is the road to the Brave new world described by George Orwell.

On this 235th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, let's celebrate the way to avoid such madness:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,

That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

www.archives.gov/...ipt.html

Oliver K. Manuel
ted208
2.1 / 5 (18) Jul 04, 2011
Living in Australia today you see the Radical leftist Labor government/green doing everything they can to undermine Australian democracy with demigod propaganda and insane projects.
Promoting and encouraging Editorial threats of tattooing or gassing Skeptics, then pretending it was a joke, just like the 10.10 video showing ultra-Violence by blowing up children and skeptic's who are indifferent to the greens demands, it was obviously a project thought up by the criminally insane.
The latest one is killing Camels because they fart CO2 Gas, it's just the next nail in the Eco fascist green dreams.

Madness is an inability to rationalize good from bad this is the greens biggest failure.

Keep it up you are helping to drive rational people away for you cause!
rwinners
1 / 5 (4) Jul 04, 2011
Well, hey... they are NOT the most attractive animals... and since they are no endangered...

Just don't touch my beef!
rwinners
3 / 5 (12) Jul 04, 2011
First the camels. Then the deformed, the mentally-ill, the old. Such is the road to the Brave new world described by George Orwell.

On this 235th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, let's celebrate the way to avoid such madness:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Oliver K. Manuel


Hey Ollie? No-where in there is mentioned camels....
rwinners
1.4 / 5 (11) Jul 04, 2011
I don't have all the facts, but from what I know Australia has many problems with feral species. Unless there would be some issue that would occur with their slaughter, I see no reason why they shouldn't cull down these animals, or even try to eradicate them.


Agreed. There is a difference between them and us: We are sentient. From and intelligence level, camels are more closely related to corn stalks than to us.
rwinners
1.4 / 5 (10) Jul 04, 2011
How about some facts?
How many feral kangaroos are there in Australia?
How has the population grown in recent years?
What is considered, by experts, to be a population number that is sufficient to allow their survival?
Adam
4 / 5 (4) Jul 04, 2011
The feral camels do damage the deserts - much like feral buffalo that we've been culling for years damage the wetlands of the Northern Territory, though no one defends them. If the Saudis want the camels, they can ship them over, in place of our sheep.
bluehigh
1.7 / 5 (12) Jul 04, 2011
From and intelligence level, camels are more closely related to corn stalks than to us.


Good to see some humour here for a change.

and FYI - Kangaroos dont generally fart and even the tiny outgassing that can occur contains little or no methane. Good thing too cause theres over 50 million of them.
Sinister1811
2.6 / 5 (15) Jul 04, 2011
Apparently there are half a million camels roaming the outback and the number is rising, because they don't have any natural predators out there. Except for maybe the occasional Dingo. But, do I think that their contribution to Global Warming is significant? Hardly.
rwinners
1 / 5 (1) Jul 04, 2011
That begs the question: Are feral camels doing damage to their environment?
In the US, we have wild horses that are periodically culled because the range won't support them all. By culled, I don't mean hunted. They are captured and either put up for adoption or euthanized. I seriously doubt that Aussies will be willing to take in all those camels.
InterestedAmateur
4.4 / 5 (7) Jul 04, 2011
Omatur
An an Australian I find your attitude condescending.

You appear to believe that the United States of America has done such a good job of protecting the rights and liberties of ALL US Citizens, performed so well at conservation and land management that its citizens have the right to judge other nations.
Wrong!
Don't misunderstand me I love Americans, married one in fact but PLEASE stop this sermonising to the rest of the world.

We'll back you in wars and shed blood beside you when it's called for, trade with you and back you in the UN but you're not our parents or our older sibling.

Keep talk about the USA Declaration of Independence to USA domestic issues please as it's not relevant in other countries.
Sinister1811
1 / 5 (6) Jul 04, 2011
@rwinners - We have wild horses here too, called Brumbies that cause soil erosion. They are often captured and re-homed, or euthanized. And the government culls wild Buffalo and Foxes. There doesn't seem to be any plan for Camels (that I know of).
rwinners
1 / 5 (2) Jul 04, 2011
Seems like the camel's time is coming, Sinister.
M_N
1.5 / 5 (8) Jul 04, 2011
I concur with Ted - the current political situation in Australia is bordering on the bizare. We have the Greens (an extreme Left political party) with the balance of power, and dictating policy to a minority Labor government. They are currently ramming a massive "carbon" tax through in defiance of promises they made and the wishes of the vast majority of Australain people.
rwinners
2 / 5 (4) Jul 05, 2011
Politics is much the same in the US. We have a bizarre right wing minority threatening to bring down the financial system by refusing to finance the spending that the Congress has already authorized. Good luck to both of our citizens.

How many political parties does Australia have?

Deesky
5 / 5 (3) Jul 05, 2011
This story is a poor follow-up to an earlier story, also published here, which provided more background info on the problem and less on the flaky angle of greenhouse emissions.

The real problem is habitat devastation wreaked by a non-indigenous species, not the farting (which is more of a humorous adjunct, rather rather the focus).
bluehigh
1.4 / 5 (13) Jul 05, 2011
Deesky, perhaps you misunderstood the background to the article. The rationale being argued in the article is that Camels are not a significant source of toxic emissions as claimed by the Aussie Gov in support of mass murder.

The kill-a-camel suggestion ...climate change ... as part of consultations for reducing the country's carbon footprint.


Your suggestion that habit devastation is a real problem with Camels that survive in desert conditions is a bit far fetched and is argument off subject. Aside from a bit of straggly bush and a few dirty water holes exactly what habitat are these horrid invading camels destroying?
bluehigh
1.7 / 5 (11) Jul 05, 2011
In the meanwhile you could accept that using climate change fear to murder a million camels is bit suspect.
Deesky
4.3 / 5 (10) Jul 05, 2011
Deesky, perhaps you misunderstood the background to the article

Nope.

The rationale being argued in the article is that Camels are not a significant source of toxic emissions

I know that. My response was relevant to the previous article (as I referred to in my post) which played up the GHG angle amongst the real problem, which this article refutes. But by refuting just the GHG angle (which was tantamount to a joke in the original article) and by leaving out the real reason for the proposed cull, this follow-up piece is nothing more than a beat up.

Your suggestion that habit devastation is a real problem with Camels that survive in desert conditions is a bit far fetched

How about the fact that camels eat 80% or more of the available plant species in fragile ecosystems? They have a noticeable impact on salt lake ecosystems, waterholes and damage dune crests which leads to erosion. They also have an impact on indigenous populations, see Docker River, for example.
Deesky
5 / 5 (4) Jul 05, 2011
In the meanwhile you could accept that using climate change fear to murder a million camels is bit suspect.

It's not only suspect, it's ridiculous. And that's my point. This article practically guarantees such as response, while the previous one presented the broader issues and not just the fluff.
Magnette
5 / 5 (4) Jul 05, 2011
They claim they'll use helicopters to round up and kill 1.2 million camels.
I wonder just how much CO2 the helicopters will emit whilst doing this?
jnjnjnjn
1 / 5 (1) Jul 05, 2011
This story is a poor follow-up to an earlier story, also published here, which provided more background info on the problem and less on the flaky angle of greenhouse emissions.

The real problem is habitat devastation wreaked by a non-indigenous species, not the farting (which is more of a humorous adjunct, rather rather the focus).


I know of another species in Australia that causes the same problem only orders of magnitude worse. Time to 'cul' that species.

J.
rwinners
1 / 5 (3) Jul 05, 2011
Camel burgers, anyone???
Truthforall
3 / 5 (2) Jul 05, 2011
The killing is about money - carbon credits.
Only 1.2 million to dispose of, thats nothing compared to industrial emission needs.
On the other hand should we "manage" the culling and let the number recover before we cull again, then it is of no help to carbon reduction. It becomes a game to fool the system. Create a problem, keep it going and rip the benefit from temporary measures.
So what's next when the number runs dry?
Since Kangaroos have little fart, how about cattle? Now we can sell the cattle twice, one for meat and the other for carbon credit. Magic show......

lengould100
2 / 5 (4) Jul 06, 2011
The premise "Let's kill all our {enter species here} as our contribution to fighting global warming" is repulsive. Clearly exploitation of a legitamite situation, human-induced global warming, for other purposes (how much would the helicopter "hunters" be paid?) and too pathetic to be considered anything but a very bad joke.

When the heck will the stupid right-wing-nuts stop futzing about and reduce their excessive use of fossil fuels, which is the problem, or at least about 99.5% of it?

Disclaimer: I'm not 100% convinced that experimentally increasing earth atmosphere's loading of GHG's MUST cause serious problems, especially for many developing countries already working with marginal resources of rainfall, croplands and other inputs. HOWEVER, I'm certain that there is a fairly high probability of that, and consider this present experiment supreme stupidity, which could only be justified by certainties ranging near 100% that it WON'T, which scientists have CLEARLY ruled out.
lengould100
2.3 / 5 (3) Jul 06, 2011
And I would estimate that building one decent-sized solar-thermal-with-thermal-storage generating station somewhere in the camel's territory would do more to combat the risks of atmospheric GHG loadings than this entire project.

If the camels need to be culled for legitimate ecological reasons, then that should be a separate decision.
Semmster
not rated yet Jul 10, 2011
What we are dealing with here is farting politicians not camels. Maybe we should cull politicians with a "stupidity index" higher than their IQ.


You stated my feelings exactly. That would solve a considerable number of problems.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (3) Jul 10, 2011
ISOCARD. Who knew.
First the camels. Then the deformed, the mentally-ill, the old. Such is the road to the Brave new world described by George Orwell.
Bwahahahaahhaaaahhaaaa!!! (fart)

Yes let's keep the camels but eradicate the rabbits because they're smaller and their farts are higher-pitched.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (3) Jul 10, 2011
Well here is the obvious solution which the NYT felt was fit to print. Put camel in the supermarket right next to rabbit:
http://www.nytime...ish.html
mosahlah
1 / 5 (2) Jul 10, 2011
Ahh, the unforeseen consequences of Cap and Trade. Man will compete with natural sources of CO2. Bet the nature lovers didn't see that coming.
mosahlah
1 / 5 (1) Jul 10, 2011
Camel actually tastes pretty good. We used to have camel burgers once a week.

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