BÓTHAR, the international development agency that specialises in the use of livestock, has launched an unusual appeal to farmers.
It is seeking a donation of 26 heifer calves, one for each county in the Republic, as part of a “Spring Calf Appeal” for its Shelton Abbey rehabilitation project.
The appeal follows last year’s successful partnership with Shelton Abbey prison in Wicklow, which has agreed to care for the animals at its onsite farm as part of its programme for inmates.
Calves donated by farmers, schools and community groups will be taken to Shelton Abbey, where there will be reared inmates for two years.
Once they are mature enough and in calf, they will be flown to needy families in developing countries across Central Africa. The Spring Calf Appeal runs until April 30.
Last year, Bóthar entrusted 300 dairy goats to Shelton Abbey farm for care by inmates. In December, the goats were transported from Shelton Abbey to Belfast Airport where, together with 100 dairy goats from Northern Ireland, they were sent to more than 400 families in Tanzania, East Africa.
The partnership between Shelton Abbey and Bóthar is mutually beneficial. Donated livestock receive expert care while the scheme provides inmates with a positive way to contribute to society.
Bóthar chief executive Peter Ireton said it is amazing to see how the simple act of giving can have such a positive ripple effect, not only in Bóthar’s donor countries but also right here in Ireland.
Mr Ireton said: “We have already seen the effect the project has had on inmates, though the goat donations and the expansion of the project with dairy calves is a great way to sustain the good work being done.” Each Irish calf sent to Africa will be donated to a family that has already received training in livestock care from Bóthar.
The families that take part must agree to pass on the first female offspring from their animal, to another family and so the effect of the donation is multiplied over and over.
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