I made a plea about this last year. Please, please please, to all those of you traveling to the Pushkar Camel Fair or are making money out of it by sending tourists there, think about the real people behind the event, the Raika Camel Herders. Their situation is now critical, they receive no financial support from all the tourists who attend the fair and happily take photos of them. Their traditional way of life is greatly endangered and they need your support. Please read on to find out more.
Camel Welfare Emergency in Rajasthan: Please help!
The Pushkar Camel Fair is just around the corner, starting in the last days of October and lasting into the first week of November.
We have been contacted by the owners of some of the last remaining camel herds – pregnant and lactating females and their babies – that they are planning to sell them at Pushkar. Preparations for their departure for the long treks are on the way. In Pushkar they will be sold and then smuggled across the border and driven towards various slaughterhouses. In some cases, as has happened regularly in Hyderabad, animal welfare activists will then rescue them and raise funds to transport them back to Rajasthan ‘where they belong’.
All this animal suffering – pregnant camels and babies walking thousands of miles, first to Pushkar, then to Hyderabad or other places – can be avoided if the camel herd owner would be supported to take care of his camels for at least another year. The herd owners who have kept camels for generations are selling their camels out of desperation and poverty and basically have no choice!
Rather than have the animals trek to Pushkar and from there to diverse destinations in India, where they may possibly be rescued and then trucked back to Rajasthan, it makes more sense to pay the owners to take care of their ancestral herds. Animal suffering will be prevented, the camels can stay together in their family units, and costs would be smaller than trucking them around and sending them to an animal shelter. A family’s livelihood would also be supported.
If you would like to help, please contact us for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ilse Kohler-Rollefson is the author of Camel Karma, she has lived and worked in Rajasthan since 1991 supporting the Raika. In 2002 she was awarded a Rolex Associate Award for Enterprise for her efforts in ‘Saving the camel & Raika heritage’ and in 2014 the Marwar Ratna Award.