In Al Dhana, Saudi Arabia, the King Abdulaziz's annual camel festival is currently being held. This year 12 camels have been disqualified after undergoing surgery, most notably botox injections to enhance their looks.
Source: Fayez Nureldine / AFP
Camel's are judged for their looks in a "pageantry" competition as well as competing in speed races. They are mainly judged for the size of their bumps and lips with 'the bigger the better' being the key to winning.
Each year, nearly 30,000 camels compete with the winner earning up to $57 million.
The camels in question will have had botox injections with the aim of giving more allure to their pout. One can imagine that a vet would have been surprised to practice botox injections on camels for a competition but this isn't all they're asked to do. In fact, some camels also undergo surgery to reduce the size of their ears.
Ali al-Mazrouei, the son of a top Emirati camel breeder said in The Denver Post:
They use Botox for the lips, the nose, the upper lips, the lower lips and even the jaw. It makes the head more inflated so when the camel comes it’s like, ‘Oh look at how big is that head is. It has big lips, a big nose.
But these techniques are deemed barbaric and a step too far for the animals. To win the competition, some breeders won't hesitate to pull on the lips of the camels to make them longer or give hormones to make them seem more muscular.
Mohammed ben Salmane, crown prince of Saudi Arabia, has said in regards to the competition:
Control of cheating and tampering has proven to be a success. […] it's considered a form of torture for the camel, inflicting intense and inhumane pain.
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