By Isabella Alves
MONTEVERDE, Costa Rica — To get to Benito Guindon’s dairy farm, you’ll need good boots, tough pants and a willingness to get covered in mud – and brown excrements found around livestock.
One of the producers of the brown sludge lives among the muck — Guindon’s pigs.
While they might be considered an odd addition to a dairy farm, the pigs are a good consumer of extra waste because they’ll eat almost anything. Like whey, which is a byproduct of cheese-making, one of Guidon’s primary farm products. They are also important for farmers like Guindon because pig breeding and selling gives them extra income.
But recently some of the pigs aren’t playing this important role in Guindon’s farm. They have become sick from bacteria attacking their nervous systems, causing seizures and possibly infertility.
He doesn’t know exactly what’s causing these problems and has resorted to locking the pigs in cement pens to prevent exposure to the bacteria in the mud.
He is planning on selling off the rest of his pigs because they’re costing him too much to money. Something that was supposed to help the farm is now hurting it. To small farmers, this can be the difference between breaking even and going under, Guindon said.
The pigs, once a way to reduce refuse and promote efficiency on the farm, are now becoming a part of that waste and mucking things up.
Edited by Nadav Soroker