Plant-Based Milks Threaten the Growing Market for Camel Milk

Yes, camel milk. You read that correctly. Whether you knew it or not, people have been drinking camel milk for thousands of years.

The good news is that a recent study shows plant-based milks are making serious inroads in the camel milk market share.

Between 2018 and 2022, the global camel milk market is anticipated to grow by about seven percent, according to research conducted by Technavio.

What’s particularly interesting, though, is not that this industry projects growth — it’s that the trend toward veganism and plant-based consumerism is identified as this product’s major market challenge.

The study’s press release notes:

Plant-based milk alternatives such as soy milk, almond milk, and coconut milk are some of the major competitors for camel milk. Vegans, lactose or dairy intolerants, and people with milk allergies are the primary users of these plant-based alternative dairy drinks. These drinks have low-fat and low-cholesterol levels. Medical benefits, rising health consciousness among consumers, and increasing vegan population are driving the demand for such products.

Why camel milk?

Camel milk is popular because it has many reported health benefits. It doesn’t cause the gastric distress that cow’s milk does because it lacks lactose. Camel milk also reportedly helps ease ailments like IBS and Crohn’s disease.

Camel milk is surprisingly beneficial for Type 1 diabetes sufferers because of its high insulin content. It also acts as a diuretic and can ease the symptoms of allergy-related stomach problems.

camel calf drinking milk

Camel calf enjoying its mother’s milk, as nuture intended. Photo credit: Thinkstock

Camel milk is particularly popular in Australia, Kenya and Ethiopia, but it’s being marketed more aggressively worldwide these days. It comes either fresh or in powdered form.

Camels Suffer, Just Like Cows

Pleased as drinkers are with camel milk, its production isn’t fun for the camels.

The production of camel milk involves the same cruel processes as cow milk production. Female camels are forcibly bred again and again in order to ensure a constant flow of milk. And those babies don’t get to stay with their mothers.

What’s different about camel milk is that farmers need the calves’ participation in order to access the milk. Camels will produce milk for a good year and a half after birth. However, the milk won’t flow unless a calf is actively suckling at a teat.

That means farmers have to do something pretty appalling — they let the calf begin to drink its mother’s milk. Once it gets flowing, they pull the calf away and milk the camel until the flow stops. They do this over and over.

Here’s one approach to camel milking:

The calf never gets to feed on the milk that nature intended for it. Instead, humans take it. Yet again, we find ourselves drinking a mammary secretion not intended for our systems. Why?

The Technavio study acknowledges that plant-based milks are camel milk’s biggest competitor these days. In no small part, that’s attributable to the rise in veganism. Many concerned consumers are looking for alternatives that are both more compassionate and better for our health.

And the answer is not camel’s milk; it’s plant-based milk. Let calves have the milk their mothers make for them. Humans just don’t need it.

Photo Credit: Steven Penton/Flickr

110 comments

Marie W
Marie W22 days ago

Thank you very much.

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Emily J
Emily J4 months ago

Good. A lot of the stuff that humans do to animals is really, really weird and gross when you think about it.

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DAVID f
Dave fleming5 months ago

TFS

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Amanda M
Amanda M5 months ago

Thanks for sharing

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Amanda M
Amanda M5 months ago

Thanks for sharing

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DAVID fleming
Dave fleming5 months ago

Thanks

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Angela J
Angela J5 months ago

Thanks

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Sara S
Sara S5 months ago

Let's not exploit any more animals for dairy products. Let the plant-based milks flow!

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Christine S
Christine Stewart5 months ago

there are very poor people who are trying to improve their income and nutrition by drinking and selling camel milk- but due to the suffering of the camel calves, it is better to find another way for these people to make money- maybe growing amaranth or other nutritious plant, to make plant milk!

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Carole R
Carole R5 months ago

So mean and unfair to the poor camels.

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