Yes, there are beauty pageants for camels. And yes, some animals are being surgically enhanced to give them a leg up on their competitors.

We think it’s a safe to assume that camels could really care less about how their physical appearance comes across to humans. Sure, nature has its way of making camels appealing to one another, like when a male camel spits up its dulla organ from its throat and mixes in some slobber to attract a female mating partner. But during a pageant at the King Abdulaziz Camel Festival in Al Dhana, 12 competitors (and their overzealous owners) were disqualified for sneaking plastic surgery into what is meant to be a showcase for the overall all-natural beauty that is the camel.

Tens of thousands of camels compete every January in the festival, with millions of dollars worth of prize money on the line. Besides racing and obedience contests, the beauty contest aspects of this year’s festival offered up almost $32 million in cash to the victors. Where there’s money, there’s usually mischief, and a vet was caught injecting botox into the lips and noses of some animals to help enlarge them – a physical trait seen as a plus in the discerning eyes of competition judges. And it’s not just about fatty lips – the same vet was also snipping ears to make them smaller.

Approximately 300,000 people attended this year’s festival, which has strict guidelines in place for all of its competitions. According the pageant rules, the offending individual(s) now face a five-year ban from competing and possible legal action on charges of animal cruelty.

Story by Jay Moon