When we first heard about this profession we pictured camels sporting mullets. Alas, this is not the case. But the reality is far more fascinating. Skilled barbers, using nothing but a pair of scissors, cut intricate designs into the camel’s fur. The result - a complex tapestry that stretches the length of the animal.
These perfectly quaffed camels can be found at Eid-ul-Azha events across Pakistan, a popular Muslim festival, where camels, sheep, cows and goats are sold for sacrifices.
To attract buyers, camel owners hire barbers to transform their beasts into something more eye-catching. In some cases, barbers are paid between two to three thousands rupees per design. The cost of the haircut is often offset by the increased value of the spruced-up animal.
Designer camels can also be spotted at the The Bikaner Camel Festival in India, a region that has a long history with the ‘ships of the desert’ (our new favorite term for camels). Instead of buying the animals to sacrifice, spectators watch them race, and celebrate all things camel. The festival includes music, food, and dancing, as well as camel milking, camel beauty competitions, and puppet shows.
Now, we know what you’re thinking, none of this sounds super enjoyable for the camels, especially the sacrificial part. But the same could be said for the meat industry, or even horse racing. It spawns a bigger question about how (and if) the use of animals in sport or as a food source has a place in our future.
Image by Vasu