Greetings, friendly viewers and welcome to Animal World: Our Co-Inhabitants. Featuring ever-stretching sandy beaches and azure seas, the peaceful country of Costa Rica in Central America is blessed with a rich variety of flora and fauna. In 2007, the Costa Rican government announced their strong commitment to become a carbon neutral country by 2021.
According to the Happy Planet Index, Costa Rica is the greenest country in the world. Mr. Carlos Huertas, a Costa Rican farmer, is a leader and role model who is supporting his nation’s wonderful environmental initiative by running a sustainable organic vegetable farm that once was a dairy.
Today’s program features the inspirational story of Mr. Carlos Huertas and his Verdegal Organic Vegetable Farm located in the town of Palmira de Zarcero, Costa Rica.
Carlo Huertas (m): I came from a dairy farming family. Since I was a little boy, I have been milking the cows. Later on, my dad gave us our own plot to cultivate when we got married, so I started to make the dairy bigger, making a kind of feedlot.
HOST: For many years the Huertas family had made a living by selling milk from their dairy farm, with 5.5 hectares of farmland devoted to dairy production. What sparked Mr. Huertas to end his involvement in animal husbandry?
Carlo Huertas (m): I had 40 cows in the feedlot. Then I was offered a whole herd from a dairy that was going to be closed down. We made a deal and we introduced the cows into our feedlot and about three years later, we realized that the bull and all the cows from that herd were infected with brucellosis. Since the bull was infected, all the cows also became infected.
HOST: On a typical dairy farm, cows are crammed in tight warehouses and injected with bovine growth hormones so they will produce 10 times more milk than they would normally give.
Having to experience prolonged suffering both mentally and physically, the immune systems of dairy cows are weakened and they frequently become infected with diseases.
Carlo Huertas (m): The milk from a cow infected with brucellosis, mustn’t be drunk, because the milk passes the brucellosis to humans.