Prizes of $31.8 million made animal owners go further than normal during the King Abdulaziz Camel Festival
What do Amsterdam and the Tour de France have in common? They’re both a bunch of spandex-wearing cyclists on drugs.
But apparently competitive doping and cheating have no boundaries – even when it comes to species.
During the annual King Abdulaziz Camel Festival, a celebration featuring camel beauty contests and races in Saudi Arabia, a dozen of animals were disqualified for an odd reason.
The camel owners were pushing so hard to win the prizes, that total about $57 million for winners of the contests and camel races – $31.8 million is just for just the pageants – that they used Botox injections to exaggerate their favourite animals’ traits.
Twelve camels were disqualified from the contest for the use of the chemical that is supposed to improve the animals’ appearance.
“They use Botox for the lips, the nose, the upper lips, the lower lips, and even the jaw,” said one of the regular contestants and a son of one of the top Emirati breeders, Ali Al Mazrouei
“It makes the head more inflated so when the camel comes it’s like, ‘Oh look at how big is that head is. It has big lips, a big nose’,” he told an Abu Dhabi newspaper the National.
However, Botox is not the only way to adjust the looks of a camel.
I’ve heard it all now! The #SaudiArabia King Abdulaziz Camel Festival this year disqualified 12 #Camels from this popular beauty pageant for being injected with #botox. So sorry for those camels refusing to play by the rules?#beauty #pageant pic.twitter.com/0Qv6hYRHYA
— David F Roberts (@DavidFRoberts1) January 25, 2018
According to the National, Saudi media reported the organisers caught a veterinarian performing plastic surgery on the camels and allegedly his clinic was surgically reducing the size of the animals’ ears to make them appear more delicate.
Collagen fillers and Botox injections adjust the animal’s appearance for months. By the time a buyer finds out, it is usually too late to react.
“The people who are just in the camel competition to make it more valuable, they are cheating everyone,” said Mr Al Mazourei.
“A fine should be applied. In camel racing, whoever is using drugs is fined about 50,000 Dirhams in Abu Dhabi. The fine is not yet applied for beauty camels.”