Story By: Feza Uzay, Sub-Editor: Marija Stojkoska, Agency: Newsflash
A cow in Russia has given birth to a mutant calf with two heads and a pig-like body.
The mutant calf was born at a farm in the village of Matkechik in the district of Beysky in the Russian republic of Khakassia earlier this month.
As seen in the image, the calf had two heads and a pig-like body.
The owner of the calf, a Russian woman living in the area named Ninel Karacakova, told Newsflash that the mutant calf did not survive the birth and the mother died just a few days later.
In an interview, she said: “I in all my time raising cattle have never seen anything like this.”
She said she was really shocked and had notified local government officials about the mutation.
The Department of Veterinary Medicine of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food of the Republic of Khakassia said in a statement on 25th October that they had looked into the matter and can confirm that it was true.
They said: “Such a case did indeed take place in the village of Matkechik, Beysky District, at one of the private farmsteads.
“According to the owner, the calf was stillborn and was the cow’s first offspring.
“The main reason for animals being born with genetic abnormalities (mutations) is a change in the genome. The reasons for mutations in animals are caused by their external and internal environment.
“Mutations are inherited changes in the genome, arising as a result of certain mutagenic influences, as well as in artificial (experimental) conditions. Also, mutations can occur during crossbreeding.”
The Department of Veterinary Medicine added that measures are being introduced to make sure officials carry out artificial insemination practices at private farms instead of allowing the farm owners to do it.
The move is to reduce the risk of contamination during the process for example from pesticides that are known to induce similar mutations to those experienced by the calf owner.
Other factors are environmental pollution, disease and radiation that can cause genetic changes leading to similar mutations in previous cases.
In most cases the mutations do not live beyond the first few days if they are born alive at all, although there have been cases of animals with extra limbs, in particular, living into old age despite their mutation.