Thread: Camel dung
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Old 28 November 2012, 07:48 PM
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snopes snopes is offline
Join Date: 18 February 2000
Location: California
Posts: 109,655

Comment: I heard this "story with a moral" regarding blindly following
procedures years ago, but have never found anything to confirm or refute

In WWII, the official RAF procedure for preparing leather for fighter
aircraft seats included rubbing camel dung into the leather. With
production ramped up for war, camel dung was hard to come by in England,
so a man was tasked with identifying a more readily available substitute,
such as horse or cow manure.

He asked around, but no one knew the purpose of the camel dung. The answer
was always some variant on "That's just how we've always done it".

Finally, he was introduced to an old retired veteran of the WWI North
Africa campaigns, who had the answer. "Y'see, we had to rely on camels
for pack animals in the desert, and camels are skittish creatures. The
smell of new cow leather spooked 'em, so we rubbed in camel dung to mask
the odor with something that made 'em comfortable."
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