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And The Fate Of The Hermaphrodite Goat Is...

In Gaza, all hermaphroditic goats will go to heaven. On Sunday, authorities ordered the slaughter of this animal — which had male sex organs and udders — lest people mistakenly believe that its milk had special powers. And if another hermaphrodite goat turns up, it too will face the knife.

The male milk-giving goat of Gaza has been turned into meat.

Owner Jaser Abu Said sold the goat for the 400 Jordanian dinars (close to $600) that he and his business partner spent on it. He found a buyer willing to slaughter the goat for meat. And he stuck around to witness the goat's demise personally, along with representatives from the Gaza government.

Why government officials at a goat slaughtering — which happens pretty frequently in Gaza?

The goat appeared to be a hermaphrodite. It looked like a male, with a large build and visible male sex organs. But it also had udders. And gave milk.

Officials got involved when they heard that some people wanted the goat's milk, believing it could help fertility or cure ailments.

Worried that people could be deceived, the deputy minister of agriculture for Gaza's southern region ordered the animal killed.

The execution order said the goat had been used to violate the public health, which "may cause severe damage to civilians."

Owner Abu Said first said he'd do it himself, but on the appointed day, he hid the goat instead. Police came by, and after an hour at the station, he said he agreed to let the government test the milk.

His business partner, Abdel Rahman, said if the goat was to be slaughtered, at least they should be paid.

And so they were, not by the government but the buyer willing to slaughter it immediately. And the goat was killed even before results of tests on the milk were in. Dr. Zakharia Kafarna, director of veterinary services for the Ministry of Agriculture, says he wanted it that way.

He said that even if the goat's milk had tested normal, people who believed that milk from a male animal had curative powers could be deceived if the goat fell into the wrong hands. "People would believe the milk can heal them," he said. "We don't want people to be fooled."

Tests of the milk found nothing curative — or dangerous. Just "a few milk cells" a male goat "is not supposed to have," Kafarna said. He thought perhaps it was a case of a simple hormone disorder, not a true hermaphrodite goat.

The milk — and meat — Kafarna deemed safe to consume.

If another such goat crosses his path, he'll order it slaughtered too.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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