BY JOHN CHRISMA
EIGHT-legged pigs are a rarity, but recently a Malaitan farmer was shocked when her sow gave birth to an eight-legged female piglet in her piggery farm at Henderson, East of Honiara.
The woman piggery owner and farmer from Kwara’ae, Malaita province, Daisy Orbed, who raised pigs for a living said she had never seen anything like it in her entire life.
“I was very shocked to discover such an abnormal and strange piglet after the birth took place in the fence of my piggery farm; I have no idea why it happened,” she told Environment Media.
The 54-year-old said her neighbors in the community went to her farm in horror to witness the piglet close up.
“Besides having eight legs, the piglet appeared normal and had all other organs, but it died two weeks after the birth,” Orbed said.
She recalled the sow had produced healthy piglets on two separate times, however, this was the third time to have given birth to the eight-pawed piglet. “I had not noticed any abnormality in the sow that was giving birth to healthy piglets over the years.”
The deformed piglet was the first-ever reported of anomalies to be witnessed in Honiara.
According to a cited report by Matthew Kirkham on the view of an environmental group regarding the causes of such biological deformities or mutation on pigs; the reason was blamed on the increase in the use of chemicals and other external factors.
“Animal rights activists believe it is due to industrial chemicals that the farmers are said to have used on their land or possibly the side-effect of intensive farming techniques.
“Evolution and causes of mutation, deformities happen for many reasons and are “naturally occurring. For example, when a cell divides, it makes a copy of its DNA — and sometimes the copy is not quite perfect. That small difference from the original DNA sequence is a mutation,” the report read.
External influences also caused mutations, according to the report.
“Mutations can also be caused by exposure to specific chemicals or radiation,” the report continued.
“These agents cause the DNA to break down. When the cell repairs the DNA, it might not do a perfect job of the repair. So the cell would end up with DNA slightly different than the original DNA and hence, a mutation.”