Saudi Arabia has removed 40 camels out of its annual beauty contest. It did so because the camels had been given Botox, facelifts, or other cosmetic enhancements that made them look more attractive.
It was described as one of the most severe crackdowns on such a crime. “tampering and deception,” the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Wednesday that the animals were barred from the ‘Miss Camel’ pageant held during the popular King Abdulaziz Camel Festival. Breeders are invited to participate in the $66 million prize draw.
It is important to note that “specialized and advanced”Technology was used to detect artificially enhanced camels. The SPA advised that organizers of the event will use this technology. “impose strict penalties on manipulators,”With the intent of stopping “all acts of tampering and deception in the beautification of camels.”
At this year’s event, held in the desert near the capital city Riyadh, authorities found that dozens of breeders had stretched out the lips and noses of their camels, used muscle-boosting hormones, injected their heads and lips with Botox to make them bigger, inflated body parts with rubber bands, and used face-relaxing fillers.
These artificial modifications are prohibited during the contest. Judges pick the winner based on the animal’s head, neck, posture, dress and position. Recent years saw organizers use ultrasound scanners and xray machines to determine if animals received cosmetic enhancements.
The Telegraph reports that camels who have been artificially augmented are out of competition for two years. They can also be removed from the blacklist by authorities. The owners of these camels can face a maximum fine of 100,000 Saudi Rial (or $26,650).
Some breeders working in this multimillion-dollar business have however defended such alterations for aesthetic reasons and tried to ban them.
This month-long festival also hosts camel races, markets and beauty contests. The gala ties into the camel’s traditional role in the oil-rich kingdom’s nomadic Bedouin roots. The region hosts similar, but less lucrative beauty contests.