Saudi Arabia BANS camels with botox from £50m annual beauty contest
SAUDI Arabia has declared war on cosmetically enhanced camels as it banned 40 of the animals from a beauty pageant for receiving botox injections and facelifts.
In the biggest crackdown so far on rule-breaking at the King Abdulaziz Camel Festival, authorities also booted out breeders caught using muscle-boosting hormones and inflated camel body parts.
The festival, which kicked off earlier this month, invites the breeders of the most beautiful camels to compete for some £50 million in prize money.
Botox injections, facelifts 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 northeast of the Saudi capital, Riyadh, are escalating their clampdown on artificially enhanced camels, the official news agency reported, using specialized and advanced technology to detect tampering.
This year, authorities discovered dozens of breeders had stretched out the lips and noses of camels.
Hormones were used 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.
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The club is keen to halt all acts of tampering and deception in the beautification of camels, the SPA report said, adding organizers 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 plows ahead with modernizing mega-projects.
Camel breeding is a multimillion-dollar industry and similar events take place across the region.
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