This picture shows a dwarf buffalo from Thailand
Facebook posts shared thousands of times purport to show photos of a hybrid breed between a pig and a cow that is being exported from Thailand for the start of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. The claim is false: the picture in fact shows a dwarf buffalo from Thailand; the pig and the cow species cannot be bred together.
The pictures were published on March 15, 2021, in this Facebook post, which has since been shared more than 9,500 times.
The three photos show a short animal, a person’s hand holding meat with white dots, and red meat in a yellow plastic bag which also has white dots on it.
“COW PIG CROSS SPECIES. Oh God, at first look, it’s too cute to slaughter! Turns out it’s a cross between a pig and a cow. Has already entered Malaysia from Thailand, supposedly for the break of the fasting month!” the Facebook post’s Malaysian-language caption reads.
It also urges people to be careful if they see “bubbles” on the surface of meat products.
The pictures have also been shared here, here and here on Facebook alongside a similar claim about a pig-cow hybrid.
Some Facebook posts share another photo of an animal to make a similar claim, as seen here, here, here and here.
The claim is false: none of the pictures show a pig-cow hybrid nor its meat.
Dwarf buffalo and dwarf cow
A reverse image search of the first picture, followed by keyword searches, on Google found this video from Thai TV channel Matichon TV uploaded on October 11, 2018.
Translated from Thai, the video is titled: “Watch the cuteness of ‘Nong Kham Phaeng’, the dwarf buffalo that brings good luck. The owner reveals that somebody proposed to buy it for 1 million baht.”
Nong Kham Phaeng, the dwarf buffalo, belongs to a man named Jiradech Phanlee in Thailand’s northeastern Sakon Nakhon province and gained online fame when neighbours began posting photos on social media, the video’s caption reads.
A search on Jiradech’s Facebook page found that he had posted pictures of the dwarf buffalo a number of times, with the same picture uploaded here on November 4, 2018.
Below is a screenshot comparison of the picture from the misleading post on Facebook (L) and the original Facebook photo (R):
The other animal photo previously appeared in Vietnamese-language news reports from May 2018, such as here and here, about a dwarf cow in Lang Chau village, Yen Lac commune, Yen Dinh district, Vietnam’s Thanh Hoa province.
Below is a screenshot comparison of the picture from another misleading post on Facebook (L) and the photo from the Vietnamese news report (R):
“It is impossible to cross-breed cows and pigs because the two belong to different animal families,” said Mohd Hair Bejo, veterinary professor at University Putra Malaysia (UPM), as quoted in this Harian Metro report on March 14, 2021. He further explained that pigs are grouped in the Suidae family while cows are in the Bovidae family, and they cannot result in a new animal breed.
The second picture in the misleading post previously appeared in this February 16, 2020, article from Kompas.com, debunking the claim that catfish meat with white dots is not safe for consumption.
Below is a screenshot comparison of the photo from the misleading post (L) and the photo on Kompas.com (R):
The last picture in the misleading post was published in this 2017 report from Egypt-based website Sada ElBalad warning people about rotten meat.
The picture was also mentioned in this previous debunk from AFP Fact Check.
Below is a screenshot comparison of the photo from the misleading post on Facebook (L) and the photo from the 2017 news report (R):
AFP Fact Check has also previously debunked a false claim about a pig-and-sheep cross breed here.