The Irish charity Bóthar has launched an appeal asking dairy farmers to donate a female Friesian calf.

The calves will be hand-reared by inmates at Shelton Abbey Open Prison and Loughan House Open Prison farms for 18 months. After this period, the in-calf heifers will be sent to families in the developing countries of Rwanda, Albania and Kosovo. The recipient families will also receive training in livestock care.

Life changing

Appeal organiser Pat Mullins said: “I meet with farmers all over the country and the feedback from this appeal is so positive. It has been a particularly difficult year for farming in this country, but I know that the farmers will come out and support this appeal because they know the value of this animal and the life-changing gift it is.

"This appeal is targeted towards securing good-quality calves, but we also need funds to transport the in-calf heifers, so if there are non-dairy farmers out there that would like to get involved in getting the animals there, I would encourage them to get in touch.”

Positive impact

Mullins outlined the positive impact the donations make both in Ireland and abroad.

“The moment the heifer calves and starts to produce milk is the moment life changes for the family. Irish dairy cows can produce up to 20 litres of milk per day, whereas, for example in Rwanda, the local, indigenous cow produces just one litre per day. The income earned from the sale of surplus milk means better health, a better standard of living and better education prospects. It is truly life-changing.”

Over 650 calves have been donated to the spring calf appeal by farmers, business people, schools and community groups across the country.


To donate a dairy calf to Bóthar, contact Pat Mullins on freephone 1800 268 463, email or click here.

The spring calf appeal will run until 31 March 2020.