Identity revealed of Cork farmer who sent her cows to a UK retirement sanctuary

Earlier this year, 70-year-old Jill Smith from Carrigaline in Cork, made the decision to part with her cows after she was left injured in a farm accident.

In what is believed to be a first for dairy farming in Ireland, Jill has now sent more than half of her 70-strong herd to the Hillside animal sanctuary in Norfolk, after years of milking.

An emotional Jill Smith from Carrigaline embracing one of her 70 dairy cows before their departure to a UK-based animal sanctuary.

It is believed to be the first time an Irish farmer has done so, with 37 animals making the journey last week and another two consignments set to follow.

After spending some time laid up Jill was concerned for her cows' welfare. She said: “Help is scarce around and I can’t be depending on my good neighbours forever.”

In order to fund the cows' departure, Jill reached out to Charlies Equine Rescue in Co Wexford, who helped her set up a crowdfunding page.

The gofundme campaign exceeded its €6,500 target was aided by musician Sharon Shannon, who appealed for donations after playing a lively set to the livestock.

Jill’s cows will see out their days in luxurious Norfolk surroundings.

“I can retire with peace of mind now, knowing they will live out their days together,” she said.

Jill told the Irish Examiner's Noel Baker: "I miss a few of the faces looking at me, but I feel they’re having a better life where they are now.

"I would love to go [and visit] when I get a chance. Cattle never forget you. They know your voice. They will remember you forever, in a nice way."

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