David Moloney and Xian Madriaga from the Convent of Mercy National School at the Mart Picture: Sean Curtin
LIMERICK based development charity Bóthar hit a milestone this week as it dispatched its 1,000th cow to Rwanda.
Just three months after sending its largest ever airlift of animals in the world to the small nation in south-central Africa, the agency has launched its 2017 airlift programme with 25 in-calf Friesian heifers begining a 7,000km journey to their new home.
The 25 cows were brought to Roscrea Mart from farms around the country and, following the finalisation of paper-work, were shipped to Amsterdam and loaded later at Schipol Airport for their overnight cargo flight.
Many of the donor farmers themselves turned up at Roscrea to see off their animals and were welcomed to Roscrea on behalf of Bóthar by Tipperary’s All-Ireland winning senior hurling manager Michael Ryan.
The in-calf heifers can expect royal treatment on arrival in Rwanda, a country where agriculture is the leading industry and the cow celebrated in song and dance.
“Last October when we arrived there the Rwandan Minister for Agriculture Gerardine Mukeshimana was present to welcome us, as well as a troupe of traditional dancers. It was great to see just how much Rwandans appreciate this gift from Irish people,” said Bóthar CEO Dave Moloney.
Of the 2017 programme, he added: “We were only able to do this thanks to the generosity of donors, farmers and members of the general public, not least across our Christmas campaign. It was our best Christmas in probably ten years and that means we will be able to send out more animals this year again. That’s going to mean more families having their lives transformed.
“We also transport our 1,000th cow from Ireland to Rwanda today and given that we go back out each year with AI straws to put the heifers back in calf, in reality there are now thousands of Irish animals in Rwanda, raising the breeding standard dramatically and changing people’s lives beyond belief. Our donors can be very proud of this and this, of course, could never have happened without them.”