Municipalities have intensified efforts to relocate camel pens from neighborhoods near Makkah and Jeddah amid fears that they can be a potential source of the deadly coronavirus.
Unlike sheep, camels are being kept on city outskirts and are being maintained by Sudanese shepherds, mainly for milking.
Such camel pens are located in industrial areas and in Briman in Jeddah, Mina Road, Old Jeddah Road and Khakiah in Makkah.
Camel milk sales are on the decline at popular sale points thanks to rampant fear of the virus.
“I hardly seeing any residents drinking camel milk on Jamoom road near Briman nowadays,” said Mohammed Cheema, a Pakistani driver who drives a septic water tank past the area daily.
“There are no camels nowadays in the industrial area,” said Mohammed Naseer, a local Indian expatriate.
Yet sources have refuted claims that these sheds are being removed only because of the coronavirus.
“We are removing these camel sheds because they cause environmental damage and often operate in unhygienic conditions,” said Abdul Salaam bin Mushat, Makkah Municipality secretary, on Tuesday. “Sheds can often be spotted along roads. Owners routinely sell milk along these roads contrary to a warning issued by the municipality, which they continued to ignore.”
“The Makkah Municipality has dismantled 90 percent of camel sheds that are found to be a public health hazard,” he said. “We will continue to combat the sale of camel milk along highways in poor hygienic conditions in a bid to protect residents from purchasing contaminated milk.”
“Gas stoves and other such utensils have been removed from these sites and eight camels of various ages were shifted during the raids,” he said.