A celebration of camels is taking place in the UAE capital. Ten thousand specimens (making it ‘the biggest contest in the Arabian Gulf’) will be in attendance from Wednesday (2 April 2008), which in itself is part of the Mazayin Dhafra festival.
Billed as an ‘international beauty contest’, there is more than $9m (£4.5m; 5.8m euros) and 100 cars in prizes up for grabs. It is a pity when so much criticism has been justifiably targeted at human beauty contests that this event shares the same tag.
The event, which has been held each year since 2002, is much better pitched as a celebration of camels that also recognizes the camel’s importance in Emirati culture, transport, adventure, literature, proverbs, sport, and increasingly, in milk and other food products, that are said to possess high medicinal value.
A BBC article (2 April 2008) reports that sponsorship has been given for this event by the ruler of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed.
The report also says that, “Camel racing is a popular sport, with money from the region's oil riches often placed in huge bets.”
One wonders about the logic and legalities of this when betting is banned at UAE horse races such as last Saturday’s running of the Dubai World Cup. Why not allow betting for any sport or ban it for all sports, instead of having rules that apply to horses but not to camels?
Dr. Geoff Pound
Image: “It is a pity when so much criticism has been justifiably targeted at human beauty contests that this event shares the same tag.”
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