Brooke: Action for working horses and donkeys

Mahatma Gandhi once said, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way in which its animals are treated.”

There were many to visualise a safe haven for suffering horses, donkeys and mules yet only one came forward with the determination to bring a change. Her name was Dorothy Brooke. Her idea of achieving a change in animal welfare did not remain a thought. She founded the Charity Organisation, Brooke, aimed towards the welfare of donkeys, mules and horses throughout the world. Nowadays, the organisation stands firm in 11 countries and strategises in bringing sustainable change and improving the plight of the targeted animals as well as their owners. Her vision: to put an end to the suffering of members of the equines family. But where exactly did it all start?

Throwback to 1930 when the conflicts of British, Americans and Australians were brought to a halt. Embarking on a search for ex-war horses, donkeys and mules that were sold and exposed to ruthless labour, Dorothy landed in Cairo, Egypt. From what she witnessed there, the plight of the poor animals struck her and she resolved to write a letter to the Daily Telegraph, known as the Morning Post at that time, to describe their harsh treatment and her indignation. Dorothy’s marked words and description of the situation were so vivid and moving that it gained widespread recognition in a short span of time. The public, amazed and touched by the sensitivity of the issue, allocated a total of £20,000 in today’s money to the cause.  Dorothy proceeded with the purchase of five thousand ex-war horses, mostly old and exhausted ones. Apart from setting these poor animals free, she also accompanied them during their final days, acting as a guardian angel trying to provide them with some shred of comfort and peace.

Dorothy further pursued her movement with the founding of the Old War Horse Memorial Hospital, Cairo in 1934 where she promised free veterinary care for animals in need. With time, people agreed on her thought and started to share her vision which led to the cause spreading throughout Egypt as well as to neighbouring Middle Eastern Countries.

Today, Brooke Organisation acts as a watchdog for the horses, donkeys and mules subject to hard labour or violence in 11 countries. In 2017, the organization’s total income was estimated at around £19.5 million and achieved success in protecting over 2 million working horses! The objective is not to implement one-off solutions but to have sustainable improvement through the years and this is the reason behind the five-year global strategy set in 2016.

Like Brooke, you are also a visionary and can take a stand now against animal cruelty by contributing for the betterment of these animals’ conditions. For every £1 donated, 91p goes to the charitable activities, 8 to the services and 1p to the government. Thus, you can be sure that your funds are culminating towards a good cause. Show your generosity now and be a decisive force in the rescue and preservation of these poor animals!

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