People don’t usually receive condolence messages for the death of animals. But Abdullah ibn Fahaad Al-Fasam Al-Dossari, owner of the most beautiful camel in the world, Mashoufan, received many such messages from camel lovers in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries after his camel died last week following a disease.Saudi beauty pageants are a big business:
Mashoufan, which had won first prizes in camel beauty contests for a number of years, was valued at more than SR17 million before its death. Its progeny include 60 male and 40 female camels.
The most beautiful among them include Mashoufa, Zalban, Masruban and Mazaal. Mashoufa won second place in a contest and is likely to get the title of the most beautiful female camel in the world, according to Al-Madinah daily.
The legs are long, the eyes are big, the bodies curvaceous.At least the Saudi ideas of honor for their females is not limited to humans.
Contestants in this Saudi-style beauty pageant have all the features you might expect anywhere else in the world, but with one crucial difference -- the competitors are camels.
"In Lebanon they have Miss Lebanon," jokes Walid, moderator of the competition's Web site. "Here we have Miss Camel."
Camels are a big business in a country where strict Islamic laws and tribal customs would make it impossible for women to take part in their own beauty contest.
Delicate females or strapping males who attract the right attention during this week's show could sell for a million or more riyals. Sponsors have provided 10 million riyals ($2.7 million) for the contest, cash that also covers the 72 sports utility vehicles to be will be awarded as prizes.
"Beautiful, beautiful!" the judge mutters quietly to himself, inspecting the group. Finalists have been decorated with silver bands and body covers.
"The nose should be long and droop down, that's more beautiful," explains Sultan al-Qahtani, one of the organizers. "The ears should stand back, and the neck should be long. The hump should be high, but slightly to the back."
Some females have harnesses strapped around their genitalia to thwart any efforts by the males to mount them. One repeat offender called Marjaa has been moved away.
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