Officials in Saudi Arabia have conducted the biggest-ever crackdown on camels that received Botox injections, according to the state-run press agency.
More than 40 entries have been disqualified from the popular King Abdulaziz Camel Festival, which started earlier this month.
The month-long event in the desert north-east of the Saudi capital, Riyadh, invites breeders to compete for a $66m (£50m) prize.
Judges decide the winner based on the shape of an animal’s head, neck, hump, dress and postures.
However, Botox, facelifts and other cosmetic alterations to make camels more attractive are banned.
And authorities are escalating their clampdown on artificially enhanced camels, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Wednesday.
Thanks to “specialised and advanced” technology, officials have found of breeders had stretched out the lips and noses of camels, used hormones to boost muscles, injected heads and lips with Botox, inflated body parts with rubber bands and used fillers to relax their faces.
“The club is keen to halt all acts of tampering and deception in the beautification of camels,” the SPA said, adding organisers would “impose strict penalties on manipulators”.
The camel beauty contest is the centrepiece of the massive carnival, which also features camel races and sales.
It aims to preserve the camel’s role in the kingdom’s Bedouin tradition and heritage.
Camel breeding is a multimillion-dollar industry and similar events take place across the region.
In 2018, 12 contestants were disqualified because their owners used Botox on them.
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