RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — “It’s just like judging a beautiful girl,” said Fowzan al-Madr, a camel breeder from the Kharj region southeast of Riyadh. “You look for big eyes, long lashes and a long neck — maybe 39 or 40 inches.”
As he spoke, Madr was surveying the offerings at Saudi Arabia’s largest camel market, on the outskirts of Riyadh.
The days are long past when camels were crucial to life, a chapter lost in increasing urbanization and technology. But there is still pleasure in raising them, sometimes for milk and meat, for racing and, yes, for their beauty.
Camel beauty pageants, in which camels are judged on their looks and dressage, are held all over Saudi Arabia. They have become so popular in recent years that a respected Saudi cleric recently issued a decree against them, saying that they encouraged pride.
I bet they had a ‘wet hump’ contest too. Or the best looking ‘girlfriend’….or …oh, stop me.