We’ve always known that humans have issues with self-image — we go to extreme lengths to improve our appearance and feel more beautiful. But our obsession with beauty might pale when compared with that of the camel owners of Saudi Arabia, many of whom were disqualified from a camel beauty pageant last year for using Botox injections and other cosmetic enhancements. This year, organizers of the King Abdulaziz Camel Festival, which is underway, are taking measures to prevent a similar debacle by instituting strict penalties for camels doctored with beauty products.
The Saudi Camel Club plans to use high-tech equipment to detect plastic surgery, and eliminate them from the competition. It’s more of an issue than you might think, too. Mohammed Alroqi, media director for the Saudi Camel Club, said to Lonely Planet, “So far we have disqualified seven camels for Botox and fillers. And when they are caught, the owner must pay SR100,000 ($26,000) per camel.” He also added that the camel’s owners would be banned for two years from competition.
If suspicions are raised about a camel using Botox, or other cosmetic enhancements, a team of veterinarians will examine the contestant in a medical tent, and use an ultrasound to detect any banned substances like lip fillers or other surgical modifications.
With $30 million in prize money on the line, the camel beauty contest is serious business. Each year thousands of camels come to Rumah, Saudi Arabia to compete. Camels are judged on color, coat texture, leg length, and naturally voluptuous lips.