Superstitious villagers from a rural town in South Africa have been living in fear ever since a sheep gave birth to a deformed creature which they believe to be half-human and half-beast. Photographs of the animal look like something out of a carnival sideshow and have caused locals to unnecessarily panic, saying the thing was “sent by the devil.”
“The elders, when they saw it, said it was sent by the devil and was born after a coupling between a man and a sheep and then there was panic,” one villager from Lady Frere in Eastern Province, South Africa, was quoted as saying. “Many people are afraid and will not be happy until it is burned.”
Many of the 4,000 residents and farmers of Lady Frere in Eastern Province, South Africa, were convinced that bestiality and witchcraft had led to the birth of the creature.
The panic got so great that the Eastern Cape Department of Rural Development sent out experts to carry out tests after pictures of it spread like wildfire through the community. [Source: Daily Mail]
“We can confirm this is not a hoax photo but that the severely deformed lamb was born by a sheep in Lady Frere this week which at a glance resembles a human form,” said Dr. Lubabalo Mrwebi, Chief Director of Veterinary Services. “It is not however human but a deformed stillborn lamb sired by a sheep and was subsequently infected by a Rift Valley Fever at an early stage of its pregnancy.”
“It is worth noting that a sheep has 28 pairs of chromosomes while humans have 23 pairs which is important in dispelling the myth that a union of a sheep ovum and a human sperm can lead to a development of a viable life form,” he added. “The deformed lamb exhibits signs that are consistent with an early fetal development that went wrong as a result of a viral infection and nothing more.”
Noting that the gestation period for sheep is five months, which means this particular animal was conceived in late December 2016 or early January 2017, Mrwebi said that time of year saw plentiful rainfall, which brings with it large numbers of mosquitoes and midges that are carriers of viruses causing the Rift Valley Fever in sheep.
Rift Valley fever (RVF) is an acute, fever-causing viral disease most commonly observed in domesticated animals (such as cattle, buffalo, sheep, goats, and camels), with the ability to infect and cause illness in humans. The disease is caused by RVF virus (RVFV), a member of the genus Phlebovirus in the family Bunyaviridae. It was first reported in livestock by veterinary officers in Kenya’s Rift Valley in the early 1910s.
RVF is generally found in regions of eastern and southern Africa where sheep and cattle are raised, but the virus exists in most of sub-Saharan Africa, including west Africa and Madagascar. In September 2000, a RVF outbreak was reported in Saudi Arabia and subsequently, Yemen. This outbreak represents the first cases of Rift Valley fever identified outside Africa. [Source: CDC]
“It is fair to assume, therefore, that the sheep was infected by the RVF virus,” concluded Mrwebi. “The resultant circulation of the virus in the blood found its way through the maternal blood into the uterus and the fetus, which was at a very critical stage of development. The infected fetus then, as a result, failed to form properly, leading to the deformity that it became. It does look like a human form but it is not part human at all.”
There’s no way for a man to conceive offspring with an animal. If there were such possibilities, there’d be quite a few half-terrorist/half-goats walking around in the Middle East, given ISIS’ reputation for taking advantage of their pets.