'They gave me a life, and I wanted the end of theirs to be peaceful'
A dairy farmer saved her herd of 70 cows from an abattoir and raised thousands of euro to send them to an animal sanctuary.
Jill Smith, from Cork, wanted to save the cows from slaughter after retiring and launched an appeal to ship the animals to the Hillside Animal Sanctuary in Norwich.
With the help of animal lovers, Ms Smith managed to raise more than €9,000 to ship the herd to safety.
“This is a working dairy herd of 70 cows who have all bonded over the years in their own unique ways,” the Go Fund Me page reads.
“After years of service and providing an income, this farmer feels that they deserve a life where they can continue to live as a herd together.”
Ms Smith told the BBC: “They gave me a life, and I wanted the end of theirs to be peaceful. I couldn't believe people cared so much about my cows. Fluffy kittens, maybe, but not cows.”
She said many of the animals would have most likely been slaughtered, had a home not been found for them.
The animal charity Charlie’s Equine Rescue, based in County Wexford, supported Ms Smith’s appeal and began to crowdfund to raise the money needed to deliver the herd to Norwich.
Wendy Valentine, who runs the animal sanctuary, said half of the cows had already arrived and settled into their new home and the remaining cows will be sent over soon.
“It is an honour to play a part in bringing this herd to Hillside sanctuary and we are forever grateful to the farmer for letting this beautiful herd go to a 'heaven on earth' for animals,” the charity said.