Inmates at Ireland’s Shelton Abbey prison are caring for livestock on behalf of the charity Bothar
The prisoners help rear cows and goats at the Co. Wicklow-based penitentiary, before sending them off to poor farmers in war-torn countries.
The project started when Shelton Abbey’s farm manager, Tom Gregan, spotted the charity’s annual appeal on the back of a cereal box.
He thought he could contribute to their scheme of making third world farmers self-sufficient by providing them with animals, as well as giving the inmates “more meaningful work”.
“The prisoners do absolutely everything, they’re my eyes and ears,” he said. “On a day-to-day basis, especially at this time of year when the calves are so young and they’re being fed off a milk replacement, they’re in every morning from 8.30am.”
Tom added that he is amazed to see the difference in experience among his workers.
“I can get a farmer’s son one week and the next I’ll be faced with someone from Dublin city centre who’s never been in contact with livestock before,” he explained.
The animals are airlifted to their final destination from Shannon Airport and they often find their way to someone who has much more use for a cow than cold, hard cash.