What is Brooke USA?

Brooke USA is a United States-based 501-C-3 fundraising organization that exists to significantly improve the welfare of horses, donkeys and mules and the people they serve throughout Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America by raising funds and responsibly directing them to the areas of greatest need.  Brooke USA’s vision is a world in which working horses, donkeys, and mules are free from suffering.

How can someone support Brooke USA?

There are many ways that you can help working equines through Brooke USA. The most impactful and cost-effective way is to donate on-line, either through a one-time gift or committed giving by direct debit.  Alternatively, you can make donations (made payable to Brooke USA) by check or credit card. Our address is Brooke USA, 4089 Iron Works Pkwy, Lexington, KY  40511, or call us at 859-296-0037.

However, financial contributions are not the only way you can help our work.  You might also consider:

Volunteering in our Lexington, Kentucky office or at special events hosted by Brooke USA

Leaving a gift in your will

Hosting an event such as a lunch, dinner, cocktail party or other fundraising event

Joining or setting up a support group among your friends to raise funds

Buying seasonal virtual gifts from the Brooke USA Shop

Does Brooke USA accept in-kind donations of medicines, tack, and other goods?

Brooke USA is very seldom able to utilize in-kind donations, as it is not cost-effective to send goods from the U.S. into the countries where Brookes work.  Brooke prefers to support local economies by purchasing needed items in-country whenever possible.  Donations certainly stretch farther that way.

Brooke also teaches poor people the skills that they need to make many of their own items such as horse blankets, saddle pads, and tack because we know that most cannot afford to purchase these items and we want to help them to take responsibility for their animals and to become self-reliant (and not depend on hand-outs from other countries) to whatever extent is possible.

By training local service providers such as farriers, harness makers, healthcare workers, and feed dealers, Brooke is not only helping the animals in the communities where these people live, but it is also helping the service providers to increase their income by offering better quality services.   

In the case of veterinary supplies and equipment, not only is it cost-prohibitive to ship, but it can also be very difficult to get them through Customs, so Brooke always tries to purchase in-country. In cases where Brooke programs need veterinary drugs which cannot be obtained locally, a professional supplier is utilized.

Why should I donate to Brooke USA?

With your donation, Brooke USA can continue - and expand – Brooke’s work in the poorest countries of the world, providing vet care to struggling, suffering animals. But perhaps most importantly, together we can help whole communities to keep their animals healthy so they can earn enough money to feed their families.

How can I find out more about leaving a legacy to Brooke USA?

First, we thank you for thinking of Brooke USA as the beneficiary of your ultimate gift. You can read a more about Legacy Gifts on our website, or by contacting our Major Gifts Officer, Amanda Miller, at Amanda.Miller@BrookeUSA.org for details.

Does Brooke USA help animals in the United States?

We care about the welfare of all animals, but our mission is to measurably improve the lives of the greatest number of working equines.  This means that our work is done in developing countries where millions of working equines are still used on a daily basis. In these countries, where there are usually no laws to protect animals, no animal shelters, and few - if any - other charities to help them, we are often the only source of veterinary assistance and welfare training. Our job in the U.S. is to raise funds for these overseas programs.

With that said, Brooke USA is sensitive to plight of working equines in our country, and most recently we raised close to $50,000 to help horses, donkeys and mules in Florida, Texas and Puerto Rico who were affected by Hurricanes Irma, Harvey and Maria, respectively, as well as the California wildfires.

What is Brooke?

Through donations from generous individuals, foundations and corporations, Brooke USA funds the work of Brooke | Action for Working Horses and Donkeys. Brooke is an international animal welfare charity dedicated to improving the lives of working horses, donkeys and mules. Operating in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East, Brooke reaches over two million working horses, donkeys and mules. For more than 80 years Brooke has been alleviating the suffering of horses, donkeys and mules owned by poor people in developing countries.

Why does Brooke exist?

Brooke is dedicated to improving the lives of working horses, donkeys and mules. Brooke believes that most animal suffering is preventable and that good animal welfare also protects human livelihoods. One hundred million working equines are the engines that power the developing world, doing the hardest jobs under the toughest conditions to support the livelihoods of 600 million people. That’s nine percent of the world’s population. The Brooke works together with local communities to bring about lasting improvements to the lives of their working animals.

What is Brooke’s Strategy?

As well as continuing to reduce the immediate suffering of the world’s most vulnerable working horses, donkeys and mules, Brooke’s strategic goals are to achieve global impact and sustainable improvement. This drive for large-scale lasting change is supported through further embedding advocacy initiatives within local, regional and national governments to develop policies that promote the recognition of the role of working horses, donkeys and mules in developing countries and protect their welfare.

Brooke knows that the welfare of a working animal depends on the people that own and use the animal. In recent years, Brooke has been delivering an increasing amount of community training and support to share better welfare practices. Brooke delivers practical programs and provides support, advice, funding and infrastructure to its global network of employees, partners and supporters to make that vision a reality.

How was Brooke founded, what is the history, and what are the achievements so far?

Brooke started when the organization’s founder, Dorothy Brooke, moved to Egypt and began rescuing thousands of ex-war horses that had been left behind by the military after WWI.  They were sold into lives of hard labor after the war, were mistreated, and suffering terribly.  In April 1931, the Daily Telegraph, (then the Morning Post), published a letter written by Dorothy asking the public for donations to help the animals. Her pleas were heard, and she raised enough money to buy back 5,000 of the surviving horses. In 1934, she set up a free veterinary clinic in Cairo – The Old War Horse Memorial Hospital, known today as Brooke.

In the next 80 years, Brooke expanded into 10 more countries and last year alone, two million working horses, donkeys and mules benefitted from access to Brooke services, benefitting 10 million of the world’s poorest people.

In which countries does Brooke operate? (Brackets show the year that operations started)

Ethiopia (2006)

Guatemala (2006)

Nepal (2007)

Senegal (2010)

Nicaragua (2013)

Mexico (2015)

Egypt (1934)

Jordan (1988) successfully completed work in 2015

Pakistan (1991)

India (1992)

Kenya (2001)

Afghanistan (2003)

Brooke’s global headquarters are in London, England.

How does Brooke measure that a difference is being made?

Brooke teams conduct welfare assessments of the animals before, during, and after programs to find out whether equine welfare is improving in the areas of operation. Brooke also conducts regular research, including studies with owners and communities to see what impact its interventions are having.

Brooke recently initiated an Effectiveness Framework project to develop tools to measure and report the impact of veterinary, community engagement and advocacy work more effectively. Clinical quality monitoring tools have been rolled-out, and each country program produces comprehensive annual reports, showing what has been achieved and what the aim is for the future.

Why are there working equine animals, what do they do?

The animals Brooke USA helps are owned by some of the poorest people in the world - men, women and children who rely on a working horse, donkey, or mule for their livelihoods, and in many cases, their very survival. It is often their most valuable asset.

In these communities, alternative modern methods such as using machines and vehicles are often unaffordable, unavailable and impractical, so this is why horses, donkeys and mules are used instead.

In poor communities, horses and donkeys help their owners or users to earn a meagre wage by transporting produce, people, and building materials. They help with backbreaking household chores like plowing fields, hauling water from miles away, and carrying goods to market.  But poverty can lead to animals being worked too hard and for too long as owners race against time to earn as much as they can. If these animals are not cared for properly, not only will they suffer (from chronic exhaustion, heat stress, dehydration, crippling lameness, injuries, or disease), they also die prematurely.  Either way, they aren’t working.  This means that they can’t bring in a daily income to the poor families and communities who depend on them, which has devastating consequences.

What are the main welfare issues/problems working equine animals face?

Animals and their owners often work in extreme conditions in some of the harshest environments on earth. While many working equines suffer from lameness, wounds, exhaustion, dehydration, heat stress - the factors affecting these issues vary widely according to a country context.  Extreme heat, difficult terrain and long hours can cause many health problems. For example, 90 percent of the animals Brooke works with have hoof problems, and many suffer from wounds, exhaustion, dehydration and heat stress.

There is immense pressure on owners to make a living. Many animals are overloaded with more than one person or heavy passengers and made to carry heavy loads many times a day. They can also be subjected to beatings as owners make their animals work harder and faster.

Many animals are overworked and have little or no access to shade, water or rest. Many of the problems that cause animal suffering can be prevented through better care.

Why don’t they use vehicles instead of animals for work?

Vehicles are beyond the financial reach of the poor, are very difficult to acquire, and even more difficult to maintain and repair in developing countries.  Gasoline and oil are also not easily accessed and are cost-prohibitive.  Additionally, many places are not easily accessible by vehicles.  As the cost of owning and operating a vehicle continues to rise, more and more people turn to working animals.

Can supporters/the public visit or volunteer at the Brooke’s offices/clinics overseas?

As a general operational policy, Brooke does not accept volunteers, veterinarians, or veterinary students in our overseas operations, or visits by donors.  Brooke has learned that it is far more effective by using only veterinarians and staff members who are actually from the countries where we work.  They know the culture, the language, and the people.  Long-term, sustainable change happens over the course of many months and years, by building relationships in the communities where Brooke works.  Brooke also haa liability considerations and the potential danger posed by cultural differences when bringing in volunteers from other countries.  However, Brooke USA welcomes skilled volunteers for an array of helpful and valuable tasks.

What makes the Brooke different from any other animal/equine welfare charity?

Brooke is the only charity that specifically concentrates on assisting working equines (horses, donkeys and mules). Brooke is also proud of the fact that it focuses on an evidence-based approach to our work.  However, there are of course overlaps with the subject matter and goals of other charities, and so Brooke regularly collaborates with other charities and NGOs on scoping new areas and looking at new areas of research.

Why is it so important to help the animals (and what about the people?)

In poor communities, horses, donkeys and mules help their owners or users to earn a livelihood by transporting produce, water, people, and building materials. Extra money earned by equines is also used to pay school fees so children can receive an education. But extreme poverty and lack of education often result in owners misusing their animals, so the animals are unable to work, or they work while suffering. This means that some of the poorest families go without an income.

Does Brooke take animals into a sanctuary?

No. The animals helped are owned by some of the poorest people in the world: men, women, and children who rely on a working horse, donkey, or mule for their livelihoods and in many cases their very survival. It would not help these people to take their animals away.  Working animals can have a happy and healthy life, as long as they have good care and are treated with respect.  That’s why Brooke provides training for animal owners. Brooke focuses on preventing problems, ensuring a lasting effect for the welfare of working animals, rather than just a short-term fix.  The cost of keeping horses and donkeys in sanctuaries is very high, and Brooke believe this money is better spent helping more animals in their own communities.

Does Brooke ever euthanize animals?

Yes, sometimes Brooke knows that this is the only option left and is the most considerate and humane thing to do for the animal. Every day, Brooke helps hundreds of animals who are suffering from wounds, infections, and illnesses.  Sometimes their condition is beyond the stage where they can be successfully treated so Brooke works with the owners to help them decide on their animals’ fate.  Animals are only put down when Brooke is sure it is the right choice and suffering would devastate their quality of life. All our efforts go into improving animal care and treatment to prevent this.