Peter Reade

Send a Cow was set up by a group of Christian dairy farmers from the UK 30 years ago. They were outraged at EU milk quotas, which were forcing them to slaughter healthy dairy cows.

Meanwhile, Uganda was just emerging from a civil war, communities and their farmland had been destroyed and much of the country's livestock wiped out. Several of the UK farmers flew to Africa to investigate how they could help.

The farmers saw how smallholder dairy farming in Africa could work. People there were unable to feed themselves and milk would provide an instant source of nutrition. They returned to the UK determined to help, and sent cows from their own herds to Uganda. Send a Cow was born.

One of those founding farmers was Peter Reade
What’s your favourite memory at Send a Cow?

My favourite memories have to be meeting families who have received a dairy cow. I’ll never forget one lady who kneeled on the floor and held my hands in her own. She thanked me for everything we’d done for her. It was a really lovely, touching moment.

Can you tell me about a memorable experience at Send a Cow?

I’ll never forget when we first started cross-breeding the local cows in Ethiopia. Years of inbreeding meant many of the native cows were small and didn’t produce much milk. The first cross-bred calves that were born grew very quickly and were much bigger than their mothers.

The local people didn’t know what to make of it, some of them even thought it was evil magic. But when they started producing much more milk, they started to realise the benefits and welcomed the crossbreeds.

I also remember transporting some goats from the UK to Uganda. On the flight over there was one billy goat that was causing loads of trouble and wouldn’t settle. When we finally landed in Uganda, he managed to get free and was running along the runway with me running after it. I thought I was going to get flattened! We did some crazy things in those early days!