Venezuela has started a massive airlift of cattle from Costa Rica in order to improve the genetic quality of its herds and to replenish stock lost in recent droughts and floods.
Venezuela has started a massive airlift of cattle from Costa Rica in order to improve the genetic quality of its herds and to replenish stock lost in recent droughts and floods. The first 80 cattle arrived at Barcelona airport, about 300 miles (500 kilometres) from the capital, Caracas last week (6 October).
SYNOPSIS: In all, 25,000 cattle will be brought into the country at the rate of 180 a day over a three month period. It's believed the aerial bridge - as the programme's being called is the biggest of its kind ever undertaken in the world. For the last two months a team of experts from the Venezuelan Ministry of Agriculture has been in Costa Rica choosing the stock to be imported. Its costing just over GBP150 sterling (250 U.S. dollars) to import each animal into the country. Initially the cost of the cattle is being met by the Agriculture Ministry and farmers buying the stock will be able to pay for them without incurring normal import duty. Before it leaves Costa Rica, every animal is vaccinated against all contagious diseases and given a certificate of health.
When they arrive in Venezuela they're vaccinated again. This time, it's for the dreaded foot and mouth disease which is unknown in Costa Rica and central America generally.
They're also branded immediately with their final destination.
The operation is being conducted on a civil and military basis, and Venezuelan military aircraft are being used for the airlift. The government is putting great emphasis on the project for the future of the cattle industry in its country, and Minister of Agriculture Dr Caramelo Contreras was on hand to meet the first consignment of cattle.