Sally the camel’s humps aren’t quite lady lumps

Pageant bans botoxed an­i­mals

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - BACK PAGE -

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

PIC­TURE: REUTERS

A Saudi man leads a herd of camels par­tic­i­pat­ing in the King Ab­du­laziz Camel Fes­ti­val in Rimah Gover­norate, north-east of Riyadh, Saudi Ara­bia.

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