Saudi Arabia has banned 40 camels from a beauty pageant after it emerged that they received botox injections and facelifts. The Miss Camel competition began on December 1 and will last for 40 days. There are 19 different categories for each of the 6 colours of camel, who will be judged on racing, obedience, beauty, and more.
As camels became associated with status and wealth, many breeds of camels compete in pageants across the Arabian Peninsula. All camels are all assessed differently but the interest in camel beauty competitions has grown since the boom of oil production during the last century.
Declaring war on cosmetically enhanced camels at the King Abdulaziz Camel Festival, Saudi authorities also ejected breeders who used muscle-boosting hormones and inflated camel body parts. The pageant’s organizers said they will “impose strict penalties on manipulators”. As The Conversation reports, camels compete each year for a $66m prize pot and the title of Miss Camel.
Local committees of experts assess and rank the camels, which are categorized by age after a tooth examination. This year, botulotoxin (botox) was injected into the lips of some contestants to make them larger. Other methods of modification included gel implants and rubber-band body distortion. In fact, the organizers have a long list of cheating methods, including using steroids and filler to relax faces.
Pageant contestants are housed away from the sun and fed milk, wheat, honey and dates before the competition. During the contest itself, a handful of judges appointed by Omani Camel Racing Federation inspect the camels, consult with each other, and rank the animals. The annual pageant is the largest camel appreciation event in the world.