CHEATING – Scandal in Saudi Arabia. About forty camels were disqualified from a beauty contest specially dedicated to them, because their owners had injected them with botox, among other things.
A new kind of competition arouses controversy in Saudi Arabia: a beauty contest for camels. This week, this annual event, anchored in the Bedouin tradition, was hit by a scandal with the disqualification of dozens of camelids having notably undergone botox injections.
With prices going up to 66 million dollars (58.5 million euros), the temptation to cheat is great for the breeders, who flock from all over the Gulf to attend this festival created by King Abdelaziz.
Plump camels spotted on x-rays
The shape and size of the lips, neck and hump are the main beauty criteria to decide between the camels during this competition which is held until mid-January in a desert north-east of Riyadh. “Forty-three camels were disqualified for cheating”, the Saudi SPA news agency reported on Thursday.
When some people injected botox into their animal’s lips, others gave them hormones to build muscle mass and banded their bodies with rubber bands to swell parts of it.
Well-versed in this kind of practice, the organizers of the competition let nothing go. The cheating was detected following physical and medical examinations of the camels, including when they were X-rayed, the news agency said.
A record number of disqualifications
This isn’t the first time that the contest organizers have disqualified camels injected with botox or having undergone cosmetic surgery, but this edition has the highest number of disqualifications recorded since the contest began six years ago. In 2018, 14 camels were disqualified.
“The authorities want the camels to be presented in their natural form”, a festival official told AFP on condition of anonymity. “Violators face heavy penalties and will not be allowed to participate in future competitions”, he added. If, according to a Peul proverb, “camels do not laugh among themselves at their humps”, perhaps they can from their masters.