Hunt on for 70 cows willing to take to skies in Bothar charity flight
THE hunt is on for 70 cows willing to take to the skies as part of an ambitious charity flight.
A herd of heifers will be checking in at a Belfast airport later this year ahead of a one-way aid trip to Romania to help communities struggling to feed themselves.
The charity behind the agricultural airlift - Bothar - are looking for generous farmers willing to donate one of their cows and allow it to join the four legged flight crew.
Bothar 2012 Heifer Appeal has been backed by Irish rugby star Rory Best, who is himself a dairy farmer.
"It's unbelievable the difference one local heifer can make to the lives of people in other countries," said Best.
"The farming community in Northern Ireland is a very close knit group - we've always supported each other as best we can - well I'd like to ask local farmers to join me in extending that community support a little further afield this year and consider donating one of their cows to the Bothar NI 2012 Heifer Appeal.
"In a time like this it's just the right thing to do.
"You don't have to be a farmer to help, with Bothar asking other people to donate money to help fund the aid flight and associated costs, such as vaccinating the cows.
"One Northern Irish heifer can genuinely change the lives of an entire community in the developing world," explained Bothar NI representative Aoibheann Fearon.
"It allows a family to create a variety of products that they can use to support themselves, their community as well as providing an ongoing supply of milk to Romanian orphanages."
Ms Fearon added: "Even if you're not a dairy farmer we'd really appreciate your support.
"There are a large number of costs associated with getting local animals vaccinated, transported and settled in Romania and any help towards these costs would be hugely appreciated."
The charity has carried out similar airlifts from the Republic of Ireland but this will be the first heifer airlift from Northern Ireland.
Anyone interested in supporting the appeal or donating a heifer can contact Bothar NI on 028 9062 7308 or post their donation - cash not cow - to Bothar NI, Anna House, 37a Upper Dunmurry Lane, Belfast BT17 0AJ.
Heifers should be first time in-calf Holstein Friesians, preferably 30 months or younger.