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Chip implants to identify camels at Saudi national fair

King Abdul Aziz Camel Festival. (SPA)
JEDDAH: The Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture’s support of the King Abdul Aziz Camel Festival includes providing microchip implants for animals participating in the event as well as overseeing their welfare.
Husain Yusuf Idris, the supervisor of the guidance section of the festival’s heritage village, said the ministry’s participation in the festival had many objectives, including dealing with emergencies that camels faced during their participation in the event such as birth and bleeding.
The ministry’s participation also aimed to identify fraud by camel owners during the competition as well as increasing awareness of practices that could adversely affect animals such as the wrong use of antibiotics or other medicines, he said.
Idris said the aim was to educate camel breeders on the safe use of medicines. One misconception of camel breeders was that giving antibiotics would protect camels from infectious diseases, he said.
The ministry’s guidance section sheds light on some of the diseases infecting animals including the most common diseases such as scabies and blood parasites. The section also contains data on fodder, how to store it and the source of purchase.
More support is available at the “Sinam show”, which demonstrates how camels should enter the festival along with simple procedures for the acceptance of camels in the festival such as taking samples from the camel’s nose to make a quick test for the coronavirus.
Idris said other tests included taking a blood sample to check for Maltese disease.
The tests were followed by the injection of a rice-sized electronic chip which did not harm the camels. The free-of-charge e-chip was injected into the camel’s left side and contained data about the camel including color, age and surname and where the camel owner could buy and sell camels. These e-chips were considered an “ownership registration document,” he said.
The ministry also had veterinary teams at the auction and Dahnaa markets which undertook testing of camels. “We used to test camels one month ahead of the festival but we repeat the tests to ensure the same figures we have issued during the registration and testing,” Idris said.

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