Twelve camels have been disqualified from a beauty contest in Saudi Arabia because Botox was used to make them look more alluring to judges.
The big prize money tempted some owners to cheat.
Saudi media reported that a vet had been caught giving camels plastic surgery including Botox injections and reducing the size of their ears.
The camels were disqualified for violating strict rules at the King Abdulaziz Camel Festival an event that takes place every year. The month-long event is the biggest in the Gulf and involves up 30,000 camels.
The Independent reports: Total cash prizes for owners of winning camels in show competitions and races at the 28-day festival reportedly amount to as much as 213 million riyals (£40.3m).
The dromedaries – a species of Arabian camel – paraded down a dusty racetrack as judges rated the size of their lips, cheeks, heads and knees.
“The camel is a symbol of Saudi Arabia,” explained the chief judge of the show, Fawzan al-Madi. “We used to preserve it out of necessity, now we preserve it as a pastime.”
Much is changing in Saudi Arabia: the country is getting its first movie theatres. Soon women will be permitted to drive. The authorities eventually hope to diversify the economy away from the oil that has been its lifeblood for decades.
But as they seek to transform the conservative kingdom, the Saudi authorities are trying to smooth the path for reform by emphasising traditional aspects of their culture. And for the Bedouin of Arabia, nothing is more essential than the camel, used for centuries for food, transport, as a war machine and companion.
So the authorities have ramped up the country’s annual month-long camel festival, which was relocated last year from the remote desert to the outskirts of the capital. On a rocky desert plateau, the government has erected a permanent venue to host the headline events.
The pavilion features an auction where top camels can fetch millions of riyals.
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