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Helping Camels Over the Hump

By Michele C. Hollow of Pet News and Views

I think it is important to focus on animal welfare all over the globe. I’m always curious to learn about animal care and triumphs in other parts of the world. I’ve covered Help In Suffering a few months ago, and I just received updates about their camel program that I wanted to share with you.

Known as ships of the desert, thousands of camels continue to populate Northwest India. Sadly, as they have throughout history, many continue to suffer the ills of neglect, disease, ignorance, and maltreatment. In 2001, Dr. Devi Shankar Rajoria of Help in Suffering (HIS), a charitable trust working for the benefit of animals in the city of Jaipur, established the HIS Camel Project as a result of the extreme suffering of working camels.

To further help these legendary creatures, a Camel Rescue Center was recently built at Bassi, on the Agra Road, where many camels work. A resident vet and two assistants staff the Center around the clock, providing free treatments for injured or sick camels.

This past June, Dr. Pradeep Singhal and a team from HIS comprising of five veterinary physicians from India and the United Kingdom plus six veterinary technicians, joined the staff at Bassi to assist with camel care. “Camels are among the most noble and regal of animals, and we are committed to doing as much as we can for them,” he says.

Equally important, the HIS team was able to provide treatment to all other animals in the locality. “There’s not much in the way of veterinary support in this area, and we got the word out that we were also here to take care of all other animals,” says Dr. Pradeep.

The team from HIS treated a total of 985 animals during a one-month stay, including camels, cattle, buffalo, sheep, and goats. Most of the camels were treated for parasites such as worms, external ticks, and mites. Others suffered from lameness, or wounds indicating poor management and awareness by camel owners towards their animals.

According to Dr. Pradeep, special considerations must be taken into account when your patient weighs around 1,000 pounds, especially if you are going to do surgery. But unlike the popular misconception of a spitting and stubborn animal, the camel is a model patient. “You might come up against one that doesn’t want to behave, but not very often,” says Dr. Pradeep. “They are actually quite friendly.”

As always, the HIS vets advise the camel owners to follow better management practices to take care of their companions, handing out prepared leaflets in Rajasthani that explain why the animal is suffering, and how this can be avoided in future. For example, a common method of treating throat and cold infections, or lameness, has been to inflict a deep burn wound by means of a heated iron rod applied to the skin of the affected area. Owners are advised that this is not only useless and needlessly painful, but can threaten the life of their camel.

“The Bassi experience was intense, frustrating, enchanting, bewildering, and rewarding all at the same time,” says Dr. Pradeep. “We awoke each morning to stifling heat and humidity so intense that we kept troughs of drinking water near the entrance so that the animals would not collapse while waiting for treatment.”

“People came from miles away and were very grateful for the help and more so that it was for free. They were very kind in thanking our HIS staff and in appreciating the support of our generous donors in providing this service in their locality. There’s still much to be done and we will definitely be returning.”

How You Can Help
For more information about HIS or to make a donation, click here. Help in Suffering also accepts experienced or newly qualified veterinary surgeons from all countries to assist with surgery, radiography, treatment or nursing care. The organization prefers a minimum stay of three months. Veterinary students are also welcome and will find plenty of opportunity for hands on experience.

9 comments to Helping Camels Over the Hump

  • Mary Alden

    I also like to read about animal welfare in other countries. Thanks for this positive story on HIS>

  • Cara Williams

    HIS is a much needed organization. I salute those who help others–others in all forms.

  • Allen Quint

    I read your first piece on HIS, and this nonprofit continues to do good. Thanks HIS!

  • Gloria Watson

    I read your other HIS post and love the update. This is an important nonprofit that needs attention.

  • Annette Byron

    I agree with you Michele that it is nice and so interesting to see what others are doing to help animals in other parts of the world.

  • Mitch Allman

    Thank you to all the volunteers at HIS. What a great organization. Michele, thanks for sharing this with us. It is nice to know what goes on with animal welfare in other parts of the world.

  • Jennifer Riley

    Thanks for the news from overseas. We can all learn so much from each other. Animal welfare organizations need to work together and help one another. We are all in this together.

  • Isaac Raines

    Being based in California, it’s great to hear what others in other parts of the world are doing to help animals. Thanks for this post.

  • What a wonderful story. I love camels, they are amazing creatures, and it is good to hear that there are services such as this to help them when needed. I included a camel, Ali Baba in my book Amanda in Arabia. He is very popular with the children.