Demand for camel meat is growing in Egypt as a strain of SAT2 foot and mouth disease sweeping across the nation has decimated cattle production and left the populace fearful of consuming beef.
According to the Cattle Site , government officials suspect that smuggled shipments of infected sheep and cattle from Libya caused the outbreak of foot and mouth disease, which is responsible for killing about ten percent of cattle.
The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations reported their livestock census data for Egypt showed "6.3 million buffalo and cattle and 7.5 million sheep and goats are at risk." It advised, "this is an entirely new introduction of a virus strain known as SAT2, and livestock have no immune protection against it."
Humans are not at risk of catching foot and mouth disease from infected cattle, but meat and milk from infected stock are not fit for human consumption. Egyptians have responded to the crisis by switching to camel meat, according to Alarabiya. Camels are imported from Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia and Uganda to the domestic market, where traditional camel dishes include camel steaks and camel kebabs.
The Birqash Camel Market (Soul El-Gamal), 60km from Cairo, is advertised as an authentic Egyptian experience and tourist attraction, for those who are not faint-hearted. However, Alarabiya reported some people object to the cruelty towards camels which may be tied up and beaten in the market.