The camels - Al Sharq Image Credit: Supplied

Manama: The Qatari camel breeding farm owner who last week lost 15 top-breed racing camels due to the alleged use of high dosage of pesticides has lashed back at the state-run animal husbandry department who had accused him of preparing the wrong solution.

“The quality of the pesticide was substandard because the moment I diluted it with water, the solution turned yellow while it should have actually been colourless,” Misfer Safran Al Merri said. “This was not the first time I used pesticides on camels. I have been handling pesticides for the past 10 years and I know how to go about it,” he said, Qatari daily The Peninsula reported on Thursday.

According to the camel farm owner, the problem was with the pesticides, and not with the way it was used or its level of concentration.

“I am well familiar with pesticides and have been breeding camels for a long time. There is a problem with the state-run vet centres. They have neither pesticides nor medicines to treat ailing animals. They do not have proper equipment, either.”

Al Merri said that the vet centre in Al Shahainya did not have pesticides and that he had to go the main vet centre in Doha to have the pesticide.

The farm owner said that the environment ministry was wrong for blaming him for the deaths of his prized camels.

The ministry said that the farm owner had used high concentrations of the pesticide and did not follow the instructions of Al Shahaniya’s veterinary centre. 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, the ministry said.

An autopsy was conducted on the camels’ carcasses and the samples sent to the laboratory to ascertain the cause of their death.

However, Al Merri said that the team dispatched by the animal husbandry department to his farm after he complained of the camels’ mass death “paid no attention to the dying animals and only collected samples from the carcasses and pesticide and left.”

Other camel breeders were also critical of the animal husbandry department and said they the vet centres did not have enough pesticides and medicines to treat ailing animals, Qatari daily Al Sharq reported.

“The situation with regard to veterinarians is so pathetic that it is easier to seek appointment with a Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) doctor than access a veterinarian,” Jarallah Johail, a farmer, said. “As a consequence, we have to increasingly rely on private veterinarians who are quite expensive.”