Claim: A Facebook user claims the Chinese government is planting chicken organs in cows for faster egg production.
Verdict: False. The photo has been manipulated. The original picture shows cows whose genome has been edited to give it traits it does not naturally possess.
Facebook users have expressed shock, doubt and are outraged at a photo showing cows allegedly laying eggs in a barn. The post claims the Chinese government is allegedly planting chicken organs in cows for faster egg production.
The photo posted by Africa Post on Facebook has received several responses. The description of the photo says, “China plants chicken organs in other animals for faster egg production. The Chinese government has once again shown its advances in technology, and this time in the animal kingdom. The Chinese planted organs of gall in other animals for faster egg production”
With over 500 comments, over 1,000 shares, and over 1,000 reactions, users have expressed diverse views on the photo.
While others have cited the implications of the photo as the reason why life expectancy is decreasing, others have vowed not to eat anything that comes from China. What is the veracity of this photo?
Given the reactions the photo has garnered over the period, DUBAWA set out to find out if it is a real image.
Firstly, DUBAWA decided to find out if there is any possibility of cows laying eggs.
Cows are regarded as mammals and mammals do not lay eggs but give live births. Several reports and studies have shown that mammals are born alive and relatively well-developed, having grown inside the mother’s body in a special organ called the uterus.
Are there mammals that lay eggs? Yes, there are. These groups of mammals, according to the Australian Museum, are called monotremes. They lay eggs instead of giving live births. However, cows are not a part of this category of mammals.
We also conducted a Yandex image search, and we found a series of similar images posted in a news report by Anitkor, a national anti-corruption portal dubbed “Ukraine the popular myths about GMOs defeated.”
This report was published on January 8, 2018. It cited a Facebook user Andrey Skakunov to have originally posted the photo of some Belgian cows with a description that says, “In fact, they let cancer into the animal’s body for rapid muscle growth. This is what a GMO cow farm looks like, animals don’t even walk, but just lie down all their short lives.”
What is Genetic Modified Organism (GMO)?
GMO cows (genetically modified organisms) is a term used for cattle whose genome has been edited to give it traits it does not naturally possess. This includes disease resistance, lack of horns. In cows, this modification is usually done for cows to produce more beef.
To further ascertain the veracity of the photo, DUBAWA examined the photo in Fotoforensics, a tool that uses an advanced algorithm to decode any possible photoshopped pictures and manipulation. We found out the JPEG% in the Fotoforensics tool showed a mass repetition of numbers, which is a red flag. This suggests the image has been tampered with.
In a nutshell, the photo alleging that China is planting chicken organs in cows for faster egg production is false.