Sally the camel’s humps aren’t quite lady lumps
Pageant bans botoxed animals
BATTING eyelashes, pouting lips and perfectly placed humps – not all camels are blessed with such good looks.
A dozen camels were banned from a beauty contest during the King Abdulaziz Camel Festival in Saudi Arabia after receiving botox injections, according to the National, a newspaper based in Abu Dhabi, UAE.
Some 30 000 camels participated in the annual event in Al Dhana, near Riyadh, for racing, an obedience competition and a beauty pageant. The National reported that prize money reserved for the festival totals $57 million (R672m), with $31.8m (R436m) reserved for pageantry. But some people apparently tried to cheat the system by enhancing their animals’ natural beauty.
“They use botox for the lips, the nose, the upper lips, the lower lips and even the jaw,” Ali Al Mazrouei, the son of a top Emirati breeder, told the newspaper. “The impression given is,’Oh look at how big is that head is. It has big lips, a big nose’.”
The King Abdulaziz Camel Festival’s website has a section explaining camel beauty standards. In the lead-up to the festival, which runs through January, Saudi media reported that a veterinarian was caught performing cosmetic surgery on camels – giving them botox and making their ears smaller, according to the National.
Ali Obaid, a pageant guide, told the National that cheaters may even “pull the lips of the camel” to make them longer.
They also “use hormones to make the camel more muscular, and botox makes the head bigger and bigger,” he said.
Others lather their camels with oil to make their coats appear darker, according to the National.
The newspaper reported that judges at the festival take steps to guard against cheating: “The age of a camel is measured by its teeth. Camels must be micro-chipped to compete and some competitions require blood testing.”
At Al Dhafra, competing camels are obliged to stay overnight at judging pens on the eve of competitions. Owners still douse humps with hairspray and give camels a fine combing to give that fluff on the hump extra volume, but after a night at the pens, the pampering makes little difference. Misty mornings in the desert wreak havoc on hair and by the time of the judging, prospective champions will only be left with their God-given beauty.
“If all else fails there is a time- honoured safeguard. Before winners are announced, owners must swear on the Qur’an about a camel’s age and ownership. Whatever tactics are employed to con judges, owners are reminded that while breeders may be judging the camels, God is judging them. This, in the end, does the trick.”
According to the festival’s website, offenders found guilty of changing the natural form of camels in the pageant shall be excluded immediately and deprived of participation in this session and up to five subsequent festival, depending on the report of the special committee. “He will be referred to the concerned authorities to take the legal penalties against him according to the GCC Animal Welfare Act approved by the Royal Decree No. 44 of 26/7/1434 AH.” These people are “cheating everyone” Al Mazourei told the newspaper. – Washington Post
A Saudi man leads a herd of camels participating in the King Abdulaziz Camel Festival in Rimah Governorate, north-east of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.