Pride and Money: Why Plastic Surgery for Camels is Banned in Saudi Arabia


The government of Saudi Arabia imposed an official ban on plastic surgery and botox injections for camels, which were used by some to enhance their animals’ appearance.
The ban was apparently imposed due to conning camel owners using these methods improve their chances at fame and wealth.

Botox For the Win

Every year, Saudi Arabia hosts the King Abdulaziz Camel Festival – a massive event which attracts hundreds of thousands spectators and over 30,000 camels. This year’s festival featured a prize fund of $57 million, with $40 million being allocated to the camel beauty contest.

And with this kind of money on the line, it’s hardly surprising that some people might try to employ questionable methods in order to boost their chances, as in 2017, when some 12 camels were disqualified because their owners injected them with Botox.

This unfortunate occurrence prompted the Saudi authorities to crack down on illegal plastic surgery for camels.

© Sputnik / Mohammed al-Bakheet

Beauty and Pride

As Saudi camel breeder Khaled al-Qahtani explained to Sputnik, camel owners resort to cosmetic surgery for their animals for two reasons in general.

First, it’s the lure of the money, as a beautiful camel with good pedigree can be sold for a considerable sum, or it can win big prizes at beauty pageants for camels.

Second, camel owners constantly compete with one another over “whose camel is the most beautiful.”

“A white camel or a blue-eyed camel is a source of pride for its owner, their name would be on everyone’s lips. The price of a camel with such rare appearance could reach up to $1 million,” al-Qahtani said.

He also remarked that due to the obvious physiological differences between humans and camels, only a veterinarian can inject a camel with Botox, and that only a veterinarian desperate for money would agree to carry out such procedure.

Muhammed Fahmi, a veterinarian at al-Taweej clinic in Riyadh, pointed out, however, that while cosmetic surgical operations aimed at enhancing camels’ appearance are deemed unacceptable, this ban does not extend to the procedures whose goal is to save the animal’s health or protect it from disfigurement.

Ali al-Dwirdj, Director General of the Saudi Ministry of Environment’s Department of Health and Veterinary Control, told Sputnik that “illegal plastic surgery operations performed on animals, especially on camels, can inflict serious harm on the creatures’ health.”

“Such operations are illegal and therefore are beyond the scope of government regulations. Such procedures are extremely risky as they are often conducted in non-sterile conditions, and the veterinarians conducting them cannot be held accountable for their mistakes,” al-Dwirdj said.

He also noted that Saudi authorities are cracking down on these illegal activities, with guilty camel owners and veterinarians alike being subjected to hefty fines.

© Sputnik / Mohammed al-Bakheet

Sputnik News

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