Who We Are

Brooke veterinarian Dr Marco in Guatemala with a patient. Photo by Richard Dunwoody

Brooke veterinarian Dr Marco in Guatemala with a patient. Photo by Richard Dunwoody

Brooke is the World's Largest International Equine welfare charity

For more than 80 years the Brooke has alleviated the suffering of working equine animals.

Brooke would not exist today if it weren't for the determination and passion of one woman: Dorothy Brooke.

Extraordinary people often describe moments that define their lives, and for Dorothy the defining moment came when she arrived in Cairo, the newly married wife of British cavalry officer Brigadier Geoffrey Brooke, in October 1930.

Dorothy soon discovered that several thousand former British war horses who had served their country bravely during World War One had been abandoned and left behind by the army after the war.  These noble animals had been sold into lives of unimaginable hardship, doomed to lives of unending toil and unspeakable misery, working on the mean streets of Cairo in the early 1900s.

Dorothy Brooke

Dorothy Brooke

It was from this moment that her life became dedicated to the welfare of Egypt's working horses and donkeys.

Upon meeting one of those old war horses in particular, Dorothy wrote,

"I shall never forget the shock he gave me.  I stood staring at him.  Heaven knows the other horses were bad enough but somehow he was different. 
"Obviously he had been a good horse, once.  He had been happy and well fed as other horses had never been.  He had been born in England; had known our green fields,  had been groomed and cared for.  He had moreover served in Palestine and had suffered hardships in that Campaign as few horses have endured in modern times.  And then we had sold him into this."

Dorothy set about rescuing those heroic horses, and by the time she was through, more than 5,000 old war horses and mules had been reclaimed, and their suffering was peacefully ended. 


Brooke founder Dorothy Brooke with some rescued war horses in Cairo in the 1930s.  Today one of Dorothy's grandchildren, Ann Searight, actively continues Dorothy's legacy as an Honorary Vice President of the Brooke.

Brooke founder Dorothy Brooke with some rescued war horses in Cairo in the 1930s.  Today one of Dorothy's grandchildren, Ann Searight, actively continues Dorothy's legacy as an Honorary Vice President of the Brooke.

Dorothy Brooke feeds a rescued war horse in Cairo, 1930s.  Dorothy was involved in the day-to-day operations of the Brooke Hospital for Animals which she founded for many years

Dorothy Brooke feeds a rescued war horse in Cairo, 1930s.  Dorothy was involved in the day-to-day operations of the Brooke Hospital for Animals which she founded for many years

 
One of the former war horses whom Dorothy rescued in 1931 and named "Old Bill," left an indelible impression on her heart and memory. Old Bill became the mascot of all of her work and ultimately the means of saving all that remained in Egypt of his fellow war horses.

One of the former war horses whom Dorothy rescued in 1931 and named "Old Bill," left an indelible impression on her heart and memory. Old Bill became the mascot of all of her work and ultimately the means of saving all that remained in Egypt of his fellow war horses.


Sir David Madden

Sir David Madden

More About War Horses and Dorothy Brooke

One of our former Brooke UK and Brooke USA board members, Sir David Madden, was a member of the UK Diplomatic Service for 34 years, serving as British High Commissioner in Cyprus and British Ambassador to Greece before retiring from diplomatic service.  He is now a senior member of St Antony’s College, Oxford, and Chair of the Development Committee of South East European Studies at Oxford.  

Click here to watch Sir David speak about the origins of the Brooke.


We Are Led By A Committed Group Of World-Changers

His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales and Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cornwall visit the Brooke's work in Egypt.

His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales and Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cornwall visit the Brooke's work in Egypt.

Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cornwall -- President of the Brooke

HRH is welcomed to the official launch of Brooke USA by donkeys

HRH is welcomed to the official launch of Brooke USA by donkeys

HRH The Duchess of Cornwall is serving her second term as President of the Brooke. She has visited several of our programs in Egypt, India, and Pakistan.

“I love horses and I’ve ridden all my life, so I am passionate about the work of this unique charity. Its determination to improve the lives of working horses, donkeys and mules in many countries where animals are not so respected and loved as they are here is legendary.
”These animals are the engines powering the developing world.  However, many of these animals live in appalling conditions, enduring pain, exhaustion, dehydration and malnutrition as a direct result of terrible workloads, poor nutrition and handling.  This leads to suffering for millions of working equines and insecure livelihoods for the people relying on them to earn a basic living.
HRH the Duchess of Cornwall prepares to cut a cake to officially launch Brooke USA.  Photo by Jennifer Munson Photography

HRH the Duchess of Cornwall prepares to cut a cake to officially launch Brooke USA.  Photo by Jennifer Munson Photography

“The Brooke provides veterinary treatment and community programs all over the world to address these problems. It is working with communities to train them in best practices so they can take better care of their animals and safeguard the livelihoods of their families.
“As its president, I wholeheartedly support the Brooke in their vital work across the globe, and feel assured that the lives of these working animals and their owners are being changed for the better with the support of this wonderful charity.
"Having seen for myself the wonderful work the Brooke does in their clinics in Cairo and Pakistan to help the suffering of working animals, it makes me incredibly proud to be the president of this unique charity and to follow its course with enormous interest.”

Watch a short video of Her Royal Highness officially launching Brooke USA.


Left to right:  John Nicholson (Board member of Brooke USA), Cindy Rullman (Director of Special Events and Outreach for Brooke USA), Dr. David Jones (Honorary Vice President of the Brooke and Chairman of Brooke USA), HRH the Duchess of Cornwall (Patron and President of the Brooke), Petra Ingram (CEO of the Brooke), Richard Britten-Long (Trustee of the Brooke), Sir David Madden (Trustee of the Brooke and Brooke USA), and Brendon Elliott (Head of International Fundraising for the Brooke)

Left to right:  John Nicholson (Board member of Brooke USA), Cindy Rullman (Director of Special Events and Outreach for Brooke USA), Dr. David Jones (Honorary Vice President of the Brooke and Chairman of Brooke USA), HRH the Duchess of Cornwall (Patron and President of the Brooke), Petra Ingram (CEO of the Brooke), Richard Britten-Long (Trustee of the Brooke), Sir David Madden (Trustee of the Brooke and Brooke USA), and Brendon Elliott (Head of International Fundraising for the Brooke)


WHERE WE WORK

The Brooke is currently working in 12 of the world’s poorest countries, with plans for immediate and long-term expansion into others. 

Currently we are working in Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Senegal, Jordan, Guatemala and Nicaragua, and have recently begun a pilot project in Mexico.   We also offer small a limited level of financial support (up to approximately $7,500 each), to other organizations which are also working to improve the welfare of working equine animals in the developing world.  Through the Brooke's Small Initiatives Fund grants, we have helped working equines in Fiji, South Africa, Uganda, Colombia, Somaliland, Peru, The Gambia, Tanzania, and Mongolia.


The Brooke works to strengthen the bond between animals and the people who depend on them, as a crucial element in improving their long-term welfare.

The Brooke works to strengthen the bond between animals and the people who depend on them, as a crucial element in improving their long-term welfare.

OUR MISSION AND VISION

The Brooke works directly and through partners to do whatever will most improve the welfare of working horses, donkeys and mules through the alleviation of existing suffering and the development of equine welfare practices and facilities to prevent and reduce suffering in the future.

The Brooke's vision is of a world in which working horses, donkeys and mules are free from suffering, and better able to support the people who depend on them.

The 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 -- all funded by our generous donors.

 


OUR ETHOS

  • We are working equine welfare specialists
  • We assess our performance by the outcomes for the animals
  • We believe that self reliance produces the best long-term outcome and will try to ensure a suffering animal whose owner cannot afford treatment will still receive it
  • We will recommend euthanasia for animals who could not reasonably return to working lives.  We will work together with the owners so that the suffering of the animal is not prolonged.
  • We will lead by example, maintaining, developing and openly communicating our expertise with others.

We believe that any animal should receive the following five freedoms

  1. Freedom from hunger and thirst - by ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health
  2. Freedom from discomfort - by providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area
  3. Freedom from pain, injury or disease - by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment
  4. Freedom to express normal behavior - by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal's own kind
  5. Freedom from fear and distress - by ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering

This Brooke veterinarian in Pakistan is applying soothing medicine to a raw wound on a donkey's mouth, caused by a harsh bit.

This Brooke veterinarian in Pakistan is applying soothing medicine to a raw wound on a donkey's mouth, caused by a harsh bit.

Our Goal

By the end of 2016 we aim to be measurably improving the lives of two million suffering horses, donkeys and mules each year. 

The enormous difference the Brooke makes is thanks to the kindness of its worldwide supporters - including HRH The Duchess of Cornwall - and the dedication, care and compassion of its local veterinarians and field workers.

By improving the welfare of these extremely hard-working animals, we also improve the lives of the very poor people who depend on them to survive.

 A boy waits in the hope that his overworked and exhausted donkey will be able to stand again.  The Brooke's goal is to prevent scenarios like this, which are all to common in the developing world.  With the Brooke's intervention, this boy and his donkey could have a more promising future.

 A boy waits in the hope that his overworked and exhausted donkey will be able to stand again.  The Brooke's goal is to prevent scenarios like this, which are all to common in the developing world.  With the Brooke's intervention, this boy and his donkey could have a more promising future.