Camels are judged on the shape of their lips, the size of their humps and even the shape of the bridge of their nose.
saudi arabia camels
Credit: Getty Images/Fayez Nureldine

A dozen camels have been disqualified from Saudi Arabia’s annual King Abdulaziz Camel Festival after judges discovered the camels had allegedly been given Botox injections, according to the National.

Ali Al Mazrouei, a son of one of the top Emirati breeders and a regular attendee of the festival told the Abu Dhabi newspaper that owners had been injecting the camels with Botox in several areas to improve their physical appearance.

“They use Botox for the lips, the nose, the upper lips, the lower lips, and even the jaw,” Mazrouei said in the interview, explaining that the injections can make the camel’s head, lips, and nose appear bigger.

The event draws in some 30,000 camels that are showcased and judged based on a variety of factors that include the shape of their lips, the size of their humps, and even the shape of the bridge of their nose.

The total prize money that participants can receive can escalate as high as $57 million — a temptation for some looking to cheat the judging system.

Cheating methods have ranged from Botox injections to coat darkening, with camel owner and pageant guide Ali Obaid telling the National that some owners have allegedly pulled on the lips of the camels on a daily basis to make them appear longer, or used hormones to increase the muscle mass of the animals.

Festival organizers state that in cases of fraud, participants will be immediately excluded in at least five sessions of the festival and referred to authorities when committing legal offenses.

The event, which runs from January 1 through February 1, takes place in a venue north of the country’s capital of Riyadh and also includes camel races, camel hair art, sand art, and explanations of camel types and their rarity.