In recent years, organisers have cracked down on cosmetic improvements, a practice that has survived despite heavy penalties at the King Abdulaziz Camel Festival in Saudi Arabia.
After forty-three entrants were disqualified for botox injections and other decorative improvements, a high-stakes camel beauty pageant in Saudi Arabia was hit by a cheating argument.
The King Abdulaziz Camel Festival, which was in the desert northeast of Riyadh every year, attracts camel breeders from the Gulf with prize money of up to $66 million.
In recent years, organisers have cracked down on cosmetic improvements, a practise that has survived despite hefty penalties and tough competition.
The changes are planned to make the camels’ lips more flaccid and their humps curvier, both of which are important pageant characteristics.
“Forty-three camels were disqualified after it was revealed they had been tampered with,” according to the Saudi Press Agency.
The number of disqualifications was the highest since the beauty pageant began six years ago. More than a dozen camels were blacklisted in 2018.
Camels are subjected to physical and clinical testing, including X-rays, to detect cosmetic surgery that includes botox injections, according to the news agency.
“The authorities are keen that the camels stay and be shown in their genuine form and breed,” a festival official told news agency AFP on condition of anonymity.
Cosmetic improvements on camels, according to the authority, are deemed animal maltreatment.
“Violators will be fined heavily and will be barred from competing in future tournaments,” the official stated.
Camel racing is part of the 40-day celebration, which runs until mid-January.
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