Saturday, 12 August 2017


My eye was drawn to this article in the Irish Examiner today and I could not help but share it with you.
"A Cork farmer has made the unusual decision to give his dairy herd a retirement in an animal sanctuary instead of sending them to the slaughterhouse, writes Amy Ryan.
70 cows are set to head to Hillside Animal Sanctuary in the UK where they will live out their days rather than going to a slaughterhouse.
Hillside Animal Sanctuary was founded by Wendy Valentine to help and campaign for animal's care and “bring public awareness to the millions of animals suffering every day in the intensive factory farming industry.” 
Wendy has been arranging the trip with the farmer, who wishes to remain anonymous to the public.
“How could I send them to slaughter when there is this option for them? After all these years, they deserve more from me and they are very bonded as a herd,” said the Cork man. 
The herd has cows of all ages and they are said to be very supportive of each other. The herd waits for the older cows while they are moving fields, showing how emotionally bonded they are. The herd shows its support to a young calf, who occasionally suffers with epileptic fits, by circling the calf until the fits stop. 
“I can retire with peace of mind now, knowing they will live out their days together.”
This is the first ever dairy herd to leave a farmyard in Ireland to retire to a sanctuary. 
It is notably unusual for a farmer to choose this option for the herd, who would have fetched a high price if he had sent them to the slaughterhouse.
Some of the cows are in calf, so the offspring will be born in the sanctuary. 
“Why shouldn’t they retire with me?’ he asked. ‘They deserve it after all their hard work over the years,” said the Munster farmer. 
The farmer is said to be very emotionally attached to the herd, who he has individually named, and made the decision to send them to the sanctuary because “he couldn’t watch them going to the slaughter house.”
Joseph Ahearne Murphy from Charlie's Equine Rescue with the herd

He has other animals on his farm which will also be sent to the sanctuary including sheep, geese and ponies. 
Charlie’s Equine Rescue, which is anti-slaughter, is coordinating the entire transport to Hillside Animal Sanctuary. 
Sharon Shannon with Dove
Sharon Shannon, Irish musician, recently visited the farmer after she learned of the farmer’s “noble and admirable decision”. 
She said: “These beautiful animals will now go to a sanctuary instead of being sold for slaughter or becoming victims of live export. This is an awakening example of how compassion and kindness has won over in a world full of greed.”

She spent some time with the herd and played them a few tunes on the accordion. 
Sharon and Dove

There is a Go Fund Me campaign to raise funds to ensure the farmers wish comes true for him and his herd "
This article © Irish Examiner


  1. Replies
    1. I thought you would appreciate this, Nols :-)

  2. That's good to read something like this in a world so full of conflict, greed and cruelty.

  3. Jack L in Canada said:
    What a wonderful story ...and one which is so very rare these days, where animals lives and feelings actually matter ! To read how these sentient animals have such a depth of feeling comes as no surprise to me, but then I don't consider farming to 'be a business' is and should be a way of life. The farmer who has retired these fortunate cows, is indeed very commendable arranging a retirement so the animals can enjoy each other's company. This really opens up the issue of 'factory farming' and the 'corporatizing'... of food production, the poor pigs here in Canada who are bred into an artificial environment and never see the light of day..or root in the dirt, or live the life they are genetically programmed to live....

    Its makes me ask myself very difficult what kind of suffering did the animal whose remains I am BBQ'ing tonight, endure systemic slaughter? I am a meat eater, and that maybe makes me a bad person..but I am conscious of where my meat comes from ( well most of it...) all the beef we buy at our local store has pastured on grazing lands in my own area...because I can see them, and know the store owners for a couple of generations...chickens come from local farm, pork well..I guess I fail on that one....comes from the industrial system.

    To be truthful we don't don't need an industrialised meat processing industry, however instead one has been created to benefit a few.....but I would point out that humans too are paying a harsh price for what the animals are facing. The reality that no one is willing to face up to ( at least in N. America) that chemicals kill.....cancers, bowel diseases, autism in bables, Parkinsons etc, etc, etc, ..are all on a dramatic increase!! Because of the exposure to harmful chemicals that factory style farming dictates as part of its 'efficiencies' yes, animals are suffering...but so are more and more humans and children who ar being cut up, irradiated,...and chemically lobotomized to deal with the effects of the horrible lack of caring this industry has for ...any form of life and the indiscriminate use of chemicals that our complicit governments refuse to protect the public from these dangers,..knowingly!

    see this recent link:

    To read this story really did make my heart feel lighter..and it is so rare to see a story like this, there needs to more and more exposure in media of this kind of story ....maybe it would catch on, not likely here in "God's country"...where all life is given up for 'man's use' as dictated by the Good Book....anyway sorry to go on. I am very glad you took the time to post this....very couragerous story of a kind Irish farmer.

    Many thanks...
    Best wishes,

    1. Thank you Jack, I eat meat once a week and only very small amount. The decision whether or to or not rests solely with each individual.

    2. Fred M said: I love it saw the programme with sharon playing to the cows.

  4. Such lucky cows - a kind farmer, special music, and an idyllic retirement on the horizon.

    1. Yes it is heart warming is it not. Thanks for commenting.

  5. Hi Mel - I'd noted the farmer's decision somewhere ... it is very heart warming for the cows. They can have a wonderfully peaceful life for another 15 - 20 years. Wonderful idea to have Sharon play her accordion to them ... must have been a beautiful time - cheers Hilary

    1. Thanks Hilary; I noted some years back that the cattle enjoy soothing music, for they would gather at the fence whenever I played classical music.

  6. What a lovely story Heron. When we had foot and mouth disease here on the farm in 2001 our whole herd of dairy cows was slaughtered and burnt on our land. Seeing our beloved dairy herd disappear in such a way was awful and it took the farmer a long time to recover.

    1. H'm there is nothing more dreadful than seeing those awful fires Pat, my first experience of them was in the early 1950's and it has stayed in my memory ever since... So when I read this account I felt obliged to republish, if only as a tribute for the cattle.

  7. Katie S said: What an amazing article. Thank you for sharing Mel!
    It's brought me too happy hear that there are farmers who respects his employees and these wonderful creatures will live out the rest of there days in animal haven:)

    1. Glad that you appreciate the article Katie.
      Very slowly farmers are now treating their cattle a bit better. For it is not uncommon to see 'family groups' as per a bull, cows and calves all sharing the same field and no longer are sticks or electric prodders used to hasten them along the roads.

  8. I raised beef cattle for 25 years ... because that's what I was taught after coming to Alberta ... I maintained a herd of 30 head with some 30 + calves on foot ... Took good care of them, even in -30C ... I had many a new born calf in my kitchen in order to warm up ... I remember all their names, friend Heron ... they were my like my children and my livelihood ... Autumn is always selling season round here ... and I suffered just as much as they did ... anyway, I had this pet calf, a twin, which was rejected by his mother cow cuz it front feet had frozen off ... so I fed him 4 times /day ... his mother's milk I stole from his mother ... and simply he refused to die ... so I fed him hay, then grass ... and he grew into a wonderful (though disabled and quite fat) young bull ... and he sold for Can $ 1000 to a private buyer ... But I could never forget about him, as I should have either killed him at birth or kept him for ever ... could have, would have, should have ... Anyway, I no longer raise cattle because of him ... PS: ... And no, never gave him a name, except I called him Baby ... tears ... Love, cat.

  9. Well there you go completely understand the farmer.

  10. This makes me so happy!

    I always think of that quote attributed to Ghandi:

    "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated"

    1. Thank You Tilda and very nice to hear from you.

  11. That is a very interesting post and all the comments are supportive. I shall not buck the trend. I have been vegetarian (or rather a non-meat eater) for a great deal of my 73 years although I do eat meat now some of the time. However unless everyone becomes vegetarian or vegan and we find ways of increasing food production without using chemical control of pests (which is probably as great a cause of cancers as the stuff which is pumped into farmed animals and poultry) then we are unlikely to be able to provide good 'safe' food for the world. It is an academic fact (I am led to believe) that the provision of protein via meat is very inefficient. I eat Quorn. Regardless of all that, if all the dairy cattle are allowed to live out their natural lives grazing on otherwise food-providing arable land then we will go into food-provision melt-down.

    1. Graham your dietary history is very similar to mine, except that these days I eat quite a lot of salmon and very occasionally a small amount of very lean organic beef. I concur with you in regards to chemicals etc being one the causes of cancer plus I think that the fumes from transport (include aircraft) are cause of many respiratory illnesses.
      I do not foresee many farmers imitating the Cork farmer by retiring their herd in similar style. The vast majority of farmers that I know have a great hunger for cash !
      Thank you for the very interesting comment.

  12. Replies
    1. Hello Erica,
      I have a vague notion that he might be someone who once stayed here long ago. Eventually to become an organic farmer in West Cork and I am saying that because he had 'heart' and the right contacts.


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