Botox for Camels?

Fayez Nureldine/AFP/Getty Images

The camel is a national symbol in Saudi Arabia.

Botox isn’t just for aging Hollywood stars anymore. At least 12 camels were disqualified from an annual beauty contest in Saudi Arabia recently after their owners were accused of injecting the wrinkle-fighting toxin into the animals’ lips. Up to 30,000 camels competed in the King Abdulaziz Camel Festival in January, where they were judged on height, color, and fullness of face and lips. Injecting Botox was supposed to give the camels a desired droopy, pouty look and a better chance at winning some of the $57 million in prize money. Performing cosmetic procedures on camels is frowned upon—but not uncommon—in the Middle East, as the animals can earn millions in breeding fees and on the contest circuit. Animal rights activists have called for a ban on the injections because they can cause permanent damage to animals, including paralysis and poisoning. Says Nick Stewart, of London-based World Animal Protection: “We understand that camels are a national treasure in Saudi Arabia, but animals shouldn’t be abused for entertainment.”