Pesticide overdose cause of deaths of Qatar racing camels: Officials

August 11, 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 a veterinary centre in Al Shahaniya and the breeding farm owner was allowed to use it with no help from specialists from the veterinary centre, Qatari media said.

The Qatar News Agency (QNA) reported the pesticide had been used on 323,586 animals since the beginning of this year and no adverse effects had been mentioned. Quoting the Ministry of Environment, the agency said the farm’s owner had used high concentrations of the pesticide and did not follow the instructions of Al Shahaniya’s veterinary centre.

High demand

Due to high demand for the pesticides the centre did not have enough staff to dispatch to farms and Misfer Safran Al Merri, the camels’ 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 camels’ carcasses and the samples sent to the laboratory to ascertain the cause of their death. Samples of the pesticide were also sent, the QNA report said.



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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