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Dozens of camels barred from Saudi beauty contest over Botox

More than 40 camels have been disqualified from the King Abdulaziz Camel Festival (file pic)
AP Reporters

Saudi authorities have cracked down on camel beauty pageant contestants receiving Botox injections and other artificial enhancements, according to reports.

More than 40 camels have been disqualified from the King Abdulaziz Camel Festival, the state-run Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said.

Saudi Arabia’s popular annual pageant, which kicked off earlier this month, invites the breeders of the most beautiful camels to compete for some 66 million US dollars (£49 million) in prize money.

Botox injections, face lifts and other cosmetic alterations to make the camels more attractive are strictly prohibited.

Jurors decide the winner based on the shape of the camels’ heads, necks, humps, dress and postures.

Judges at the month-long festival in the desert north-east of the Saudi capital, Riyadh, are escalating their clampdown on artificially enhanced camels, the official news agency reported, using “specialised and advanced” technology to detect tampering.

This year, authorities discovered dozens of breeders had stretched out the lips and noses of camels, used hormones to boost the beasts’ muscles, injected camels’ heads and lips with Botox to make them bigger, inflated body parts with rubber bands and used fillers to relax their faces.

“The club is keen to halt all acts of tampering and deception in the beautification of camels,” the SPA report said, adding organisers would “impose strict penalties on manipulators”.

The camel beauty contest is at the heart of the massive carnival, which also features camel races, sales and other festivities typically showcasing thousands of dromedaries.

The extravaganza seeks to preserve the camel’s role in the kingdom’s Bedouin tradition and heritage, even as the oil-rich country ploughs ahead with modernising mega-projects.

Camel breeding is a multimillion-dollar industry and similar events take place across the region.

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