Rabat – Twelve camels have been disqualified from an annual camel beauty contest in Saudi Arabia. The reason? They were found to have Botox injections to make their features look more attractive.
According to United Arab Emirates newspaper The National, Saudi media reported that a veterinarian was caught giving camels plastic surgery, including Botox injections – for shapely humps, pouty lips, as well as smaller ears – to make the camels appear more delicate.
Some 30,000 camels were brought to the 2018 King Abdulaziz Camel Festival, the largest camel pageant in the Gulf, which takes place in Al Dhana, near Riyadh, and runs in January.
Ali Al Mazrouei, the son of a top Emirati breeder, told the newspaper that some breeders “cheat” and use Botox for “the lips, the nose, the upper lips, the lower lips and even the jaw,” to enhance the camels’ features.
“It makes the head more inflated so when the camel comes it’s like, ‘Oh look at how big that head is. It has big lips, a big nose.’”
“The people who are just in the camel competition to make it more valuable, they are cheating everyone. A fine should be applied. In camel racing, whoever is using drugs is fined about 50,000 Dirhams in Abu Dhabi. Fines are not yet applied to beauty camels,” Al Mazrouei added.
Meanwhile, the Festival’s organizers set a number of regulations against rules violators. “In case of fraud to change the natural form of participating camels, the participant shall be excluded immediately, with the offender being deprived of participation in this session and at least next five sessions of the Festival, based on the report of the Special Committee.”
Possible legal penalties against transgressors are also included in accordance with the kingdom’s Animal Welfare Act.
A total of USD 57 million is awarded to winners of the contests and camel races, with more than USD 31.8 million reserved for pageantry alone.