A real live camel was used in a nativity scene at First Baptist Church in West Palm Beach, Florida. The poor animal was meant to follow instructions from a handler who was a cast member in the play, but clearly seems spooked by the very loud Christmas music, large audience and spotlight. The camel falls, pushing the third wise man into the audience, and then onto some pews and gets stuck. (You can see the video here.) Whose bright idea was it to use a live camel — an animal weighing up to 1,000 pounds? Having such a large animal roll onto a person could definitely result in broken bones or even suffocation. Fortunately no one was hurt, and the camel was also unscathed, but the situation could have proven disastrous for both species.
The camel used was an Arabian, not a two-humped Bactrian, which are endangered. Also called dromedaries, these animals have been domesticated for many centuries. Even so, they are known for being obstinate, and at times ill-tempered. When they are angry they can kick and spit. Being kicked by such a large hooved animal surely could have severe consequences. Over ten million dromedaries live in West India, Pakistan, and the Middle East, but they generally spend their time outdoors, not as actors in plays inside churches.
This particular camel’s name is Lula Bell and is owned by a company that trains animals for parts in movies. One explanation for the camel’s fall was that it had a bad knee and couldn’t kneel like camels normally do, and lost its balance before landing on the pews. Placing an animal in such a situation, even though it supposedly has been trained, seems unnecessary and potentially animal abuse. The owner has been charged previously with animal abuse for using mules on a high dive, but was not convicted.
Wouldn’t it be more spiritual to use the money spent on renting a camel to feed local homeless people?
Image Credit: Jjron