It sounds like such a mad thing to do, to inject a camel with botox. But in the money mad world of Saudi Arabia’s Camel Festival anything is possible. Plastic surgery is now a big problem that organizers of King Adbulaziz’s Camel Festival are having to deal with.
This festival in Saudi Arabia brings together the most beautiful and biggest camels in the Gulf. And now in the quest of achieving the perfect camel pout a dozen or so camels have been disqualified for using botox injections. Apparently the botox injections in the lips and the nose can give the camel the appearance of having a much larger head. Which is a key trait to a beautiful camel. Why are they going to all this effort to cheat?
This camel pageant is actually a multi-million dollar industry! There are camel celebrities roaming the Gulf making thousands of dollars everyday. This particular camel festival is the biggest and can see around 300,000 visitors. Hosted just outside Riyadh at Al Dhana, normally sees about 30,000 camels gathering all for the top prize. Some of these camels are valued at millions of dollars, and if they were to win? Well the top prize comes in at US$31.8 million.
The temptation to cheat this year seems to have just been to great. One veterinarian was caught during the act performing plastic surgery on camels just days before the festival. His clinic was offering botox and also surgery to reduce the size of the camel’s ears.
Many camel owners are crying out for harder sanctions and safeguards for their festival. They would like the pageant to be fair for everyone and currently if caught, well only the camel is banned not the owner. So these cheaters continue to enter fraudulent camels into the contest year after year. Especially because buyers of these prize camels normally don’t find out they have been duped until months later, which by that time it is just too late.
Traditional normally sees that the camels have to stay overnight in the judging pen, to avoid any fraudulent activities from their owners. This may stop some last minute tricks like hair spray on their humps to give them an extra layer of fluff or dousing their coats with oil to make them appear darker. But if they have been cheating months prior to this night then what use is this? The younger generation of camel breeders are calling for tighter regulations and fines to be implemented, time will only tell if this will be the case.