INTERNATIONAL CAMEL CONFERENCE HELD AT BIKANER ON FEB 2007 International Camel Conference was held at College of Veterinary and Animal Science, Bikaner, India from 16-17 February 2007. It was attended by more than 175 delegates out of which 45 came from 15 countries other than India. Conference was inaugurated by Sh.Vinod Kapoor, then Vice Chancellor and Patron of the conference. Guest of honour were Dr. U. Wernery, Scientific Director of Central Veterinary Research Laboratory, Dubai, Dr. R. Yagil, Eminent Camel Scientist from Israel and Dr.A.Bakhsh, Professor and Ex-Dean, Veterinary Faculty, King Faisal University, Saudi Arabia. Twelve technical sessions were carried out in two halls as simultaneous sessions. Technical sessions were based on disease diagnosis and treatment, breeding and genetics, immunology, reproduction, ethno/modern husbandry/management practices, nutrition, surgery and anatomy, physiology and pharmacology, milk, draft power and production and parasitology. More than 150 papers were read out in these sessions. Additionally, poster sessions were also conducted. Dr.T.K.Gahlot, Organising Secretary was felicitated with a plaque by the Chief Patron of ICC, Sh.Vinod Kapoor for successfully organising this mega event.
These recommendations were drawn following a thorough discussion on “Recent Trends in Camelid Research and Future Strategies for Saving Camels” by the participating scientists and farmers (camel owners) in the plenary session at the end of conference which held on 16-17 February 2007 Efforts have been made to conduct research on breeding and genetics, health and reproduction, husbandry and management practices, and use of biotechnological aids in immunology to explore the utility of camels for human health, and to uplift the poor economic standards of camel keepers. Global concern exists in the continuous decreasing camel population, especially in India, which is caused mainly from depleting grazing resources and the replacement of camels’ draft power through mechanisation. The social conditions of the Indian camel breeders is poor. There is no organised group which can take on the task of breed registration and raise their voice for proper development strategies at national and international levels. Through deliberations at the International Conference, the following issues emerged with recommendations for possible solutions:
1. To stop the declining trend in camel population, uses of camel, other than draft power must be identified. For this purpose, the following suggestions were made-
1.1 Camel racing, similar to horse racing be regulated through the appropriate legal channels.
1.2 Camel milk as a human health food must find a legal place in the dairy industry.
1.3 Export/ import of camel as a live animal and various camel products must be legalised across national boundaries by forming new/amending existing rules/regulations. This will make camel breeding more remunerative and will call for incorporation of newer technological inputs in breeding/rearing systems.
1.4 In the tourism industry, camels must be given a suitable place in order that the heritage of communities rearing camels and its ecological conditions can be preserved and promoted.
1.5 Among the animal draft power, the camel is the most efficient species for transport and agricultural operations. Organic farming, solely using camel as draft power should be promoted and appropriate marketing of such produce should be planned.
1.6 Registration of camel, especially female camels, should be started. Registered breeders must be given sufficient incentives to produce calves from such female camels.
2. Organised camelid research programs to improve health and production.
2.1 Continuous and long-term research programs for nutritional deficiency diseases, infectious diseases (especially skin affections), digestive disorders, nephrological ailments and reproduction enhancement through use of biotechnological tools should be encouraged.
2.2 The immunological system of the camelid should be studied in more detail and strategies be formulated to make it useful for human health.
2.3 Camel specific research programs should be started in clinics and institutions which have the latest state-of-the-art facilities to understand the interaction between the different drugs when given to camels.
2.4 Medicinal use of camel milk is being researched and propagated by scientists. In order to bring harmony in the results of various researchers as well as views; it is essential that present status is complied and frontier areas of advance research are identified for larger health benefits for mankind. Specific programs in various aspects need to be taken up on a long-term basis by competent institutes.
2.5 Marker assisted selection and gene isolation for newer fields of economic advantages must be researched.