by VR Sreeraman on  August 11, 2009 at 3:36 PM Environmental Health
 Australia to Cull 650,000 Camels to Reduce Catastrophic Damage
Australian Government officials plan to wipe out 650,000 camels in the remote Outback area of the country.

A Sky News report has said that marksmen are being roped in to shoot down thousands of came from helicopters.

It is being said that the meat of these dead animals will be turned into burgers in a bid to halt these thirsty dromedaries from barging into people's homes and ripping up their bathrooms looking for water.

Camels were first introduced to Australia in the 1840s to help explorers travel through the Australian desert. There are now about one million camels roaming the country. They compete with sheep and cattle for food, trample vegetation and invade remote settlements in search of water.

But some remain opposed to a mass slaughter.

Camel exporter Paddy McHugh, who runs camel catching operations throughout Australia, said a cull would be ineffective.

"What happens in 15 years when the numbers come back again? Do we waste another 9.5 million pounds," McHugh said.

But Tony Peacock, CEO of the University of Canberra's Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Center, said: "To be shot from a helicopter is actually quite humane, even though that sounds brutal. If I was a camel, I'd prefer to just get it in the head."

Glenn Edwards, who is working on drafting the government's camel reduction program, said the camel population needs to be slashed by two-thirds to reduce catastrophic damage.

Last week, Erin Burnett, an anchor on American financial news channel CNBC, labeled Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd a serial killer on US TV, after his government announced plans to spend 19 million dollars to cull feral camels in the outback.

A stern-faced Burnett said during a segment on CNBC, "There is a serial killer in Australia and we are going to put a picture up so we can see who it is."

A large photo of Rudd was then shown.

"That would be the Prime Minister of Australia, Kevin Rudd," Burnett said. "OK, well, do you know what he is doing? He has launched air strikes - air strikes - against camels in the outback," she said.

Burnett, with a stuffed toy camel in front of her, broke away from her usual analysis of stock movements on Wall St to vent about the camel cull.

She raised the issue during a segment with CNBC's colourful financial guru Jim Cramer.

Burnett said there were a million camels living in the wild in Australia.

"They are slaughtering them?" Cramer, looking shocked, asked Burnett. "They are slaughtering them," Burnett replied.

She also complained the meat and milk from the camels would be wasted.

"Apparently, there is a billion dollars of meat out there," Burnett said.

"Are they going to do anything with it?" Cramer asked. "No. They're just slaughtering them," she said.

"That's genocide. Camelcide," Cramer commented.

Burnett then told Cramer she hoped Australians would see her segment.

Camels, which now number more than one million, are destroying fragile ecosystems and trampling all over indigenous sacred sites.

They foul ancient water holes and chomp through the boughs of endangered native trees.

Traveling in large, aggressive packs, they prevent Aboriginal women from venturing into the countryside, for fear of being attacked or trampled.

The situation is expected to get worse, with the camel population predicted to double every eight to 10 years unless action is taken.

The problem has grown so large that the Australian government recently pledged 10 million pounds towards developing a camel control plan.

Source: ANI

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