Video of ruptured camel lips rekindles Saudi Botox anger

Video of ruptured camel lips rekindles Saudi Botox anger
The toxin has been injected illicitly into the nose and lips of camels competing in beauty contests in a bid to win multi-million dollar prize pools.
2 min read
09 August, 2021
Camels in Saudi Arabia are entered into racing and beauty contests with multi-million dollar prize pools [Getty- file photo]

A video circulating on social media showing camels with lips ruptured because of botox injections has provoked outrage in Saudi Arabia, according to local media reports.

The video has spurred fans and carers of the humpbacked creatures to renew their calls for strict punishments against those who use the chemical to enhance the appearance of camels, Saudi news outlet Al-Watan reported.

Botox is used illicitly to give camels plumper lips, a prized trait for camel buyers. The toxin has been injected illicitly into the noses and lips of camels competing in beauty pageants that have multi-million dollar prize pools for their owners.

The use of Botox causes loss of control and sensation in the face, and its use on camels has been condemned by animal rights activists and veterinarians.

However, the effects of Botox can go beyond the face, camel expert Mishaal Al-Shwaish told Al-Watan, with long-term use of the toxin potentially damaging vital organs.

Botox is not licensed in Saudi Arabia for use on animals, an official told the Saudi news outlet.

However, inspection for use of the toxin in competitions is not carried out directly by the state, the official said. Instead, reports about its suspected use are given to the state by festival committees. 

Competition organisers routinely punish camel owners who use Botox on their camels with heavy fines.

The use of Botox in camels garnered international attention in 2018, when a dozen camels were disqualified from the King Abdulaziz Camel Festival near Riyadh because they had undergone the face-lift procedure. 

Al-Watan’s report came on the same day that the Crown Prince Camel Festival was launched, an eleven-day event for camel aficionados.

A spokesperson for the festival told Saudi news outlet Al-Akhbariya that this year there would be a veterinary clinic at the festival to educate owners about the care of their animals.