Lions cull cows for cancer charity

By Paul Harper

The Reporoa Lions Club is raising money for its Cancer Lodge in Hamilton by donating the proceeds of a cow cull. Photo / NZ Herald
The Reporoa Lions Club is raising money for its Cancer Lodge in Hamilton by donating the proceeds of a cow cull. Photo / NZ Herald

It's a fundraising scheme like no udder - a Waikato Lions club is asking for money from cull cows to raise funds for a Hamilton cancer facility.

The Reporoa Lions Club is asking farmers to donate the proceeds from a culled cow to the Cancer Society, for the Lions Cancer Lodge in Hamilton.

The facility opened last year and provides accommodation and support for people in the wider Waikato/Bay of Plenty area who need cancer treatment.

However $2,000,000 is still owed on the facility.

The cull cow programme was started in April by Lions club member Paul Gibson.

His wife Christine says they've already raised $47,000 for the lodge, and have about 40 promised cull cows to come.

But Mrs Gibson is keen for the scheme to spread further within the Waikato and Bay of Plenty regions.

"If we can keep it going we will have the debt paid off. They're paying interest on that all the time, which is money which could be better spent on helping the facility to run," she says.

For those city-slickers wondering what a cull cow is, farmers send a small percentage of cows to the works at the end of the milking season, Mrs Gibson explains.

"At the end of the milking season when all the cows are dried up a farmer will go through the herd and say 'she's at the end of her milking life, she's not a good producer, or she's got something wrong with her,' you've got to make room for young stock coming in.

"We've got a farm here with 450 cows and at the end of the season we send away about 20-30 cows."

The farmers tag the cows with a special pink tag, and when the cows go through the works the money is automatically diverted to the Cancer Society. As much as $800 can be raised for each cow.

She says it is a "fairly easy" way for rural communities to raise money.

"Most farmers, particularly the bigger farmers, wouldn't notice the money from one cow when they've sent away 20 or 30. It's not like we're drawing money out of their account.

"And so many people down here know someone who has used the facility."

If you would like to contribute to the Cull Cow project with either a beast or a donation contact Paul Gibson on 07 333 8344.

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