Saudi Arabia has rejected entrants to a beauty contest, among them several camels, for allegedly being over “beauty standards” because some of the beasts may have had touch-ups and Botox injections.
The unusual decision to ban entries for the women’s pageant comes on the heels of widespread outrage over the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate.
The judge for the beauty contest denied earlier this week that organisers were influenced by the murder, saying there was no “favouritism” in the selection process. Still, 24 contestants said they were shocked and surprised at the news.
“I don’t see the problem with the animals,” says a participant named Alaa, one of four camels who entered into the contest. “I did a hair and make-up session myself. I also have both ears pinned back. What happened with Khashoggi did not affect us. It does not matter.”
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Cameras recorded the judging of each team of camels at the pageant in the northern town of Madinah. The camels, from families from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan and Indonesia, were then made to run in fancy dress to win awards and the crown. The pageant was organised by Al Gharib Iraq, which promises to “conquer your hearts with world-class camels”.