Dairy Corner

Use Of Camel BOTOX in Beauty Pageant By Dr.M.Younas

Authors:     Muhammad Younas*, Abdul Raziq Kakar** and Asim Faraz***

* Ex-Director Institute of Dairy Science, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad-PAKISTAN

** Camel Dairy Expert, Al-Ain Dairy UAE

***Dept of Livestock Prod and Management, Assistant Professor, BZU, Multan-PAKISTAN




Beginning of the Event:

The King Abdulaziz Camel Festival (KACF) is an annual, international cultural, economic, sports and entertainment event that takes place in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia every year and is organized by the Camel Club under royal patronage. Initiatives such as the Festival represent an important part of the Camel Club’s efforts to build on the Kingdom’s rich history and positively showcase Saudi heritage to the world.

This competition was founded in 1999 by a group of local Bedouins, went on to receive a support from the Saudi Royal family. Due to its rising popularity, it turned into a heritage festival, attracting people from across the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) to travel to showcase their animals. According to the spokesman of the festival, the Sanam exhibition showing the role of camel as ship of the desert and Camel Carnival has been added. Royal patronage has made this KACF, a fun regional, cultural and heritage practices but also use of latest technologies and creative concepts to offer a one-of-a-kind memorable and fun filled festival. Through this event camel has not only been mentioned in the religious texts and poetry but are a source of food, drink, transport, a trading pillar, as well as source of pride and loyal friend to man.

It shines a spotlight on Saudi heritage and the special place that camels have occupied in Arab life. The camel remains an enduring symbol of the nomadic desert lifestyle of Bedouin Arabs and a link to tradition in a country rapidly modernized by oil wealth. The festival is named after the founder of modern Saudi Arabia, King Abdulaziz, who formed the kingdom through military conquest, often on the back of camels.

What Aim it has?

It aims to consolidate and strengthen the camel heritage in the Saudi, Arab and Islamic culture and provide a cultural, tourist, sports, leisure and economic destination for camels and their heritage

Camels and Competitors

King Abdulaziz Camel Festival (KACF) takes place in Al-Dahna (Rumah) north of Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The camel beauty contest (competitions), which are the center point of the KACF, were launched in 2000 and last year to raise the profile of festivity relocated (2018) from a remote desert area to a permanent venue in northern outskirts of the capital, an hour and a half from Riyadh to attract more visitors from home and abroad. This month-long festival is the biggest in the Gulf and involves upto 30,000 camels and their owners. An estimated 600,000 spectators attended this festival this year (2020).

Camel Competitions

Each year thousands of camels are praded across Saudi Arabia and the wider Arabian Peninsula descend onto the small village of Rumah, 140 km northeast of the Saudi capital of Riyadh, to compete in the King Abdulaziz Camel Festival’s racing, beauty contest, their shapely lips and humps matters in the beauty competitions.


The age of a camel is measured by its teeth, camels must be microchipped to compete and some competitions require blood testing. At Al Dhafra, competing camels are obliged to 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 have their God-given beauty.


Standards of Camel Beauty:

The festival provides a number of informative graphics about camels, including a diagram titled Standards of Camel Beauty. It is sadly unspecific about what makes for handsome nostrils and withers, though it does mention a “leathery mouth.” Judges assess the beauty of the camels based on a set of traits, detailed in the website for the festival. Some attributes that judges look for include delicate ears, big mouths, and even specific qualities in their humps. Batty eyelashes, pouty lips and perfectly placed humps, not all camels are blessed with such good looks, enter cosmetic enhancements.


In the words of the Organizer (Ms Tatiana Cadoux, 2021), she says that “I can recognize a nice camel now. There’s all this criteria for it to be beautiful – from the lip and how it hangs, to the height, to the legs, to the quality of hair and length of the eyelashes.”

Criteria for the Beauty

The criteria for the top beauty prize are extensive and include benchmarks for color, coat texture, leg length and, naturally, voluptuous lips. To augment their camel’s natural assets as well as increase their chances for bragging rights and big winnings, a few owners have resorted to employing estheticians to shape and enlarge the camel contender’s lips and inject Botox into its mouth and nose to give it an extra suppleness.

Use of Botox

In pursuit of perfectly pouting lips and wrinkle-free noses, a number of competitors use Botox injections in the hope of scoring the top prize. Botox is used for the lips, the nose and even the jaws to look inflated, beautiful and attractive. Botox makes the animals more attractive, head more inflated so when the camel comes it gives a good look with big head, big lips and a big nose. In addition to the injections, some clinics surgically reduce the size of the animals’ ears to make them appear more delicate.


When the video of camels became viral with ruptured lips due to the injections of Botox, the BBC service having seen these grim pictures asked to Prof Dr Abdul Raziq Kakar (Camel Scientist and Dairying Expert at Al-Ain, UAE) about the crux of the matter (Aug 2021). He explained to the channel that there are three reasons behind this ill practice viz; (i) camel being the prestige sign over here, every farmer try to enhance the good appearance of their camel to get their name and wants to see their camels more attractive, (ii) the prices of camel here goes upto 6 M dollars, the owners beautify them to get a higher price and (iii) the owners want to come first in the beauty competitions and convert their delicate lips which are prehensile organ during browsing, the lips become very hard like rubber and hinders in grazing. That’s why the Judges are putting bans on such competitors and imposing heavy fines to avoid such practices. Hope the heavy fines and with the awareness campaigns such practice will come to an end.

Botox Banned

Botox has been banned at Saudi beauty pageant for camels, organizers impose stiff penalties. A video clip widely circulated in Saudi Arabia showed several camels with ruptured lips due to Botox sparked outrage among owners and lovers of the animal, local media reported. Now they have demanded an end to tampering with animal welfare and the imposition of the most severe penalties.

Organizers put ban on it

Organizers at the KACF are clamping down and enforcing stiff penalties to combat doctored dromedaries. Owners of any physically altered or enhanced camels caught entering the contest are barred for at least two years and put on a blacklist that’s distributed by the camel club. When offenders are caught, they must pay SR 100,000 per camel.


In hopes of crowning only a-naturel winners, the Saudi Camel Club plans to eliminate any cosmetically enhanced contestants from this year’s contest by using high-tech equipment. ‘So far we have disqualified seven camels for Botox and fillers,’ Mohammed Alroqi, the media director for Saudi Camel Club, explained to Lonely Planet Travel News. “And when they are caught, the owner must pay SR 100,000 per camel.


Some experts say that Botox and fillers have serious health effects on camels, damaging vital organs, especially in the long term. They further claim that the injection of these substances is a serious crime punishable by law with the most severe penalties, and it causes loss of sensation and control in the face. Department of Health and Veterinary Control at the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture, explained that the regulations prohibit using any drugs that are not licensed for use on animals, in addition to it being unethical.

Role of Vets

If a profusely puffed pout arouses the suspicions of festival officials, a team of veterinarians ushers the would-be contestant to the festival’s medical tent. Ultrasound is used to detect cosmetic enhancements such as lip fillers, and an x-ray machine is used to identify surgical modifications, such as a reshaped nose or reset ears.

Judges Concerns

But judges discovered that some owners are cheating in a bid to win the cash prizes. High amount of prize has been mired in scandal after the lure of 20 Million Saudi riyals (£3.7 million) in prize money for each category tempted some owners to cheat. According to other sources the festival, also features camel riding, camel racing, camel milk tasting, an obedience competition and beauty pageant, having combined prize money of $57 Million (£ 40 Million). Real money is at stake: About $57 million is awarded to winners of the contests and camel races, with more than $31.8 million in prizes for just the pageantry. This amount has been further increased totaling to SR 114 M.


The judges were set to hand out millions of dollars in cash prizes to the breeders of the most toothsome beasts. Judges are looking for body conformation, size and height and race outcome, also perfectly placed humps, muscular physiques and leathery mouths. The key attributes in camel beauty are considered to be delicate ears and big nose. But there are strict rules against the use of drugs in the lips, or shaved or clipped body parts.


In the lead up to the festival, the Saudi media had reported that some vets had been caught giving camels plastic surgery (reducing the ear size) including Botox injections and reducing the size of their ears. Twelve prized camels were disqualified from a beauty contest after their owners tried to tweak their good looks with botulinum toxin injections (Botox) to make their pouts look more alluring in 2018. They use Botox for the lips, the nose, the upper lips, the lower lips and even the jaw. With the contests across the pageant section totaling $31.8 million prize money, the competition is fierce, according to concerned authorities of the festival. The festival still took place, minus some 12 delinquent camels, and by all reports the winners succeeded on their natural beauty alone.


According to Branca (2019), the judge also noted that owners of any physically altered or enhanced camels caught entering the contest are barred for at least two years and put on a blacklist that’s distributed by the camel clubs.


Although the hilarious headlines conjured up comical images of dromedaries donning tiaras, the competition, with more than US$30 million in prize money at stake, is serious business and isn’t taken light.

Judges Tricks to Attempts

A Camel owner told the press reporters that cheaters will get creative to get an edge and will alter an animal’s appearance for months before it’s sold to a buyer. “For example (i) “they start to pull the lips of the camel, they pull it by hand like this every day to make it longer,” he explained to the newspaper. (ii) “they use hormones to make it more muscular and Botox makes the head bigger and bigger. Everyone wants to be a winner”. Others (iii) “may lather them with oil to make their coats appear darker.” However, judges at the KACF try to take steps to guard against cheating and enforce stiffer penalties to combat doctored dromedaries.


If all else fails there is a time-honored safeguard. Before winners are announced, owners must swear on the Quran about a camel’s age and ownership. Whatever tactics 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.


Among regulations about the age, breeding and teething of the dromedaries, contest rules say “in case of fraud to change the natural form of participating camels, the participant shall be excluded immediately.” Violators will be banned from this year’s contest and the next five sessions of the festival, along with possible legal penalties for violating the kingdom’s animal welfare laws.


However, as the Saudi Authorities take the festival very seriously and chief judge says that the Camel is a symbol of Saudi Arabia, they don’t like to see such malpractices. The Chief Judge of the festival claims that “we used to preserve it out of necessity, now we preserve it as a pastime.” The contestants at the King Abdulaziz Camel Festival in Rumah had given a loud message to adhere to one condition that all beauty must be natural.

Camel beauty peagent
Camel beauty competition
Use of Camel Botox

Pics of the Competing Camels in Beauty pageant (source Reuters)

Published on: August 30, 2021

Table of Contents

Dr Muhammad Younas

Dr Muhammad Younas

Ex Dean at Faculty of Animal Husbandry, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad.
President of CAP (Camel association of Pakistan).
Email: myounas07@gmail.com

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