All animals leaving from Ireland are transported by air or land to their new homes in the developing world.
While airlifting can be more costly than boat and road haulage it is the preferred method of transportation for Bóthar animals, as it is the quickest and least stressful method.
It takes a wide range of skilled people to organise an airlift of dairy animals from Ireland to Eastern Europe and Africa. Preparations before each airlift start months in advance here in Ireland as well as in the recipient countries.
Every persons invlovement is crucial; the donating farmer, the vet, the department of agriculture offical, the customs officer and the aer rianta handlers; but one you might not be as familiar with is the role of Bóthars own ‘Cow-Boy’s. With each animal airlift, one of Bóthars ‘Cow-Boys’ accompanies the animals as a groom and ensures their safety and comfort during the travel.
Usually 70 heifers travel together as a group. The interior of a large cargo plane is specially adapted, having purpose- built pens and absorbent flooring installed.
The cattle are comfortable during their journey are not in any way perturbed by the flight. On arrival, they are again checked by the local veterinary staff. They will spend some time resting in quarantine and will then be distributed to their new families who have been eagerly awaiting their arrival.
Tómas Crowley, from Cork, has been an international, professional, Live-Animal Haulier since 1987. Tómas started volunteering to assist with Bóthar heifer collections in 1992 and he has since gone on to become one of our most valued ‘Cow-Boys’.
‘During the flight I spend my time going from pen to pen checking that the animals are comfortable and that the temperature in the plane is nice and cool.
Once the plane lands I must then present all of the documentation for the animals to the department of agriculture and the customs department.
We then take the ramp out of the belly of the plane; it comes in 21 separate parts so that must be assembled before we unload the animals. We then unload the animals and then transport them to the quarantine where they spend up to 2 weeks before being distributed to their new families and homes. I usually then look for the next flight home to Ireland.’ – Tómas Crowley.
For further information on Bóthar's animal welfare policy and any queries on transportation please phone Bóthar CEO, Dave Moloney on 061 41 41 42.