Twelve animals were disqualified at Saudi Arabia’s annual camel beauty contest after judges found that their owners had injected them with botox to give them larger snouts and “attractive pouts,” The National reported.
Every year, thousands of people enrol their camels for the King Abdulaziz camel festival. The animals are judged by their delicate ears, full snouts, droopy lips and large features, the daily reported.
There is a strict policy against the use of drugs, and the winner gets $31.8 million in prize money.
Around 30,000 camels are taking part in the event this year. The contest was first held in 2000, BBC reported. In 2017, authorities moved the festival from a remote desert to a venue closer to Capital Riyadh. At least three lakh people have visited the festival since it began on January 1.
In the lead up to the pageant, authorities caught a vet doing plastic surgery on the camels and injecting them with botulinum toxin injections, local media reported.
“They use Botox for the lips, the nose, the upper and lower lips and even the jaw,” Ali al-Mazrouei, the son of an Emirati camel breeder, told The National. “It makes the head more inflated, so when the camel comes it’s like, ‘Oh, look at how big that head is. It has big lips, a big nose’.”
The chief judge of the show, Fawzan al-Madi, told Reuters that the camel is a symbol of Saudi Arabia that used to be preserved out of necessity. “Now, we preserve it as a pastime,” al-Madi said.