12 Camels Disqualified From Beauty Pageant Over Botox Injections

Monkey business at Saudi Arabia's annual camel festival

Camels disqualified from Beauty Pageant over Botox

by Aida Amoako |
Published on

Delicate ears, a leathery mouth and a perfectly positioned hump. Those are a few of the qualities that give a camel a shot at winning Saudi Arabia’s annual camel beauty pageant. With a prize of 20 million Saudi Riyals (£3.7m), the stakes are high. Some owners are prepared to go to drastic lengths to have a camel worthy enough of scooping the top prize, including injecting the animals with Botox.

In the run-up to this year’s festival, a vet was caught giving camels plastic surgery including Botox. The injections were used to enhance the lips, to give the camels a better pout and according to the son of an Emirati camel breeder, were also used inflate the nose and jaw to give the camel the appearance of a larger head.

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The King Abdulaziz Camel Festival launched in 2000 to promote Saudi heritage – the camel is a symbol of Saudi Arabia – and help make money for camel-related industries. The chief judge of the beauty pageant, Fawzan al-Madi, told Reuters ‘The vision is for the [festival] to become a global, pioneering forum for all classes of people to come for entertainment, knowledge and competition.’ It’s a huge month-long event involving up to 30,000 camels. There’s plenty to do with a petting zoo, life-size sand sculptures, and even camel’s milk tasting. The beauty pageant isn’t the only competition either: there’s camel racing too. In fact, altogether there’s over £40m worth of prizes at the festival.

With that much money on the table, there are strict rules about tampering with the camels’ natural appearance. That means no drugs and no shaved body parts. A dozen camels were revealed to have been injected with Botox. They and their owners were not only disqualified from the pageant, they are banned from taking part for five years. And to top it off, according to the rules, the Saudi authorities will get involved under their Animal Welfare Act, because we're pretty sure that's animal abuse. Poor camels!

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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