Pesticide overdose blamed for racing camels death in Qatar

August 10, 2011

High concentrations of a toxic pesticide, the use of which was challenged in the US in 2008 in lawsuits by farm-workers and environmental groups, were blamed for the death of 15 top racing camels in Qatar last week.

The pesticide, ‘diazinon’, was supplied by the veterinary centre in Al Shahaniya and the breeding farm owner was allowed to use it on his own with no help from specialists from the vet centre, Qatari media said.

Qatar News Agency (QNA) reported that the pesticide has been used on 323,586 animals since the beginning of this year and that no adverse effects were mentioned.

Quoting the Ministry of Environment, the agency said that the owner of the farm had used high concentrations of the pesticide and did not follow the instructions of Al Shahaniya’s vet centre.

Due to high demand for the pesticides, the vet centre did not have enough staff members to dispatch to the various farms and Misfer Safran Al Marri, the camel owner, used two pesticide cans on the camels without expert assistance.

The alleged misuse resulted in the death of 15 camels, while several others were severely affected, but were saved after the vet centre dispatched a team of specialists to the breeding farm to treat them.

An autopsy was conducted on the carcasses of the camels and the samples were sent to the laboratory to ascertain the cause of their death. Samples of the pesticide were also sent to the laboratory, the QNA report said.

The pesticides solution used by Al Marri was yellow, an indication of a very high concentration of the substance, whereas it should have been white had the solution been diluted to the right consistency, as instructed by Al Shahaniya’s vet centre, QNA said.

The pesticide used by Al Marri had an expiry date of 2013 and its use on more than 323,000 animals this year did not show any negative results, the report said, citing the Ministry of Environment.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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