Report: Owner provided ill camel to Renaissance Fest

The Detroit News

The Michigan Renaissance Festival has halted working with a camel owner amid claims the animal was malnourished, officials announced Thursday.

Festival officials learned last weekend about the allegations involving “a company we contract with for the camel rides had brought in a young camel that seemed to have health problems,” they wrote in a statement on their Facebook page.

The 2016 season for the festival, which operates near Holly, launched Aug. 20 and runs through Oct. 2, according to its website.

A Michigan woman posted a picture on her Facebook page Sunday that she said showed the camel.

“This severely undernourished camel is being used for rides at Michigan Renaissance Festival and should be stopped!” her post read.

The woman, who could not immediately be reached Thursday night, later wrote on her page: “I have contacted the authorities and have no further information.”

Michigan Renaissance Festival officials said Thursday they spoke with the vendor and learned “that information had been withheld on the health history of the young camel.”

The vendor, who was not identified, reportedly told the festival leaders that the camel was “under veterinary care for a condition which has caused extreme weight loss but is improving and should enjoy complete recovery,” according to the statement.

“We have met with Oakland Animal Control and put them in touch with the camel’s owner to help assure the animal’s welfare is being monitored,” the post read. “We are reaching out to ensure all of our patrons that this is not something that we take lightly and would never allow something like this to knowingly happen. We have withdrawn the contract with the camel’s owner so he will not be returning. Thank you to all those who reached out, we appreciate the support and your concerns for the health and safety of this animal.”

Festival representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday night.

On the festival Facebook page, the husband of the woman who posted the camel photo praised the quick action. “We have enjoyed the festival for years and our faith in their desire to provide good entertainment that is responsive to their customers was rewarded,” he wrote.

But others expressed alarm.

“Hopefully no more animals will be used in such a manner for human pleasure,” one user wrote on the Facebook page. “Just wondering why you did not know about this sooner??????”

Another posted: “I understand the health information was with held but u can take one look at the animal and realize that its not healthy! They should have not even let him give rides in the first place! Thank you for doing what u did but it shouldn't of even been able to give rides in the first place!”