Dozens of camels banned from Saudi beauty pageant over Botox

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) – Saudi authorities have carried out their biggest crackdown on camel beauty contenders who received Botox injections and other artificial touch-ups, the Saudi state-run news agency reported on Wednesday , with over 40 camels disqualified from the annual competition.

Saudi Arabia’s popular King Abdulaziz Camel Festival, which kicked off earlier this month, invites herders of the finest camels to compete for some $ 66 million in cash prizes. Botox injections, facelifts and other cosmetic touch-ups to make camels more attractive are strictly prohibited. The jurors decide the winner based on the shape of the head, neck, bumps, dress and postures of the camels.

Judges at the month-long festival in the desert northeast of the Saudi capital Riyadh are stepping up their crackdown on artificially improved camels, the state news agency reported, using “specialized and advanced” technology to detect falsifications.

This year, authorities found dozens of herders stretched camel lips and noses, used hormones to stimulate beast muscles, injected camel heads and lips with Botox to make them larger, parts of the body inflated with rubber bands and used loads to relax their faces.

“The club is keen to put an end to all acts of falsification and deception in embellishing camels,” the SPA report said, adding that the organizers “would impose strict penalties on the manipulators.”

The camel beauty pageant is at the heart of the massive carnival, which also features camel races, sales, and other festivities typically featuring thousands of camels. The extravagance seeks to preserve the camel’s role in the kingdom’s Bedouin tradition and heritage, even as the oil-rich country continues with mega-modernization projects.

Camel breeding is a multi-million dollar industry and similar events take place across the region.

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