Camilla, The Duchess of Cornwall, officially launched Brooke USA at a reception for Brooke donors and guests at Churchill Downs in Kentucky on Friday.
The launch was part of the visit to the US by the duchess, who is president of the Brooke, and her husband, Prince Charles.
Brooke USA is based at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington. Brooke USA staff, board members, donors and guests travelled to Churchill Downs to honour the Duchess of Cornwall beginning with horses and donkeys in the saddling paddock at Churchill Downs followed by a reception at Churchill.
“The purpose of Brooke USA is to support the world-wide programs of the Brooke in alleviating the suffering of working horses, donkeys and mules,” said Petra Ingram, Chief Executive of the Brooke.
“Americans have a close affinity with horses and are exceedingly generous to the impoverished places of the world, so we are deeply appreciative that Her Royal Highness is bringing attention to the plight of these working animals and to the Brooke’s proven solutions for long-term improvement to their welfare.”
“I am very proud to be the president of the Brooke,” the duchess said at an event celebrating the 80th anniversary of the Brooke in 2014.
“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.
“During the second world war, my father was a cavalry officer stationed in Cairo, and I recollected him telling me about Dorothy Brooke and the wonderful work she was doing there,” she said. “That is when my passion for the Brooke was ignited.”
Cindy Rullman is Fundraising Development Manager for the Brooke USA headquartered in Lexington, Kentucky. She and members of the Brooke USA Board of Directors were present for the royal occasion.
“We were honoured to have Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cornwall with us,” Rullman said.
“Since she began her role as President in 2006, Her Royal Highness has given the Brooke, and the animals and people whom we serve, the international awareness we need to advance the cause for the poor and suffering in our world today. She is keeping us on track to achieve our goal of reaching two million working equines, benefiting 12 million people, each year by 2016.”
Headquartered in London, England, the Brooke was founded by Dorothy Brooke in 1934. As the wife of a British Major General stationed in Cairo, Mrs. Brooke began a free veterinary clinic there after seeing the deplorable conditions of the British, Australian and American war horses who had been left behind in Egypt after WWI by the military and virtually sold into hard labour. The Brooke has expanded over the last 80 years to assist millions of working equines and the people who depend on them, and is currently working in Egypt, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kenya, Ethiopia, Nepal, Senegal, Jordan, Guatemala and Nicaragua.
At least 100 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 9% of the world’s population. The Brooke is dedicated to improving the lives of working horses, donkeys and mules in communities where people often earn less than one dollar a day. Poverty and desperation often force owners to overwork their animals, resulting in a great deal suffering. Most of this suffering is preventable. The Brooke works together with local communities to bring about lasting improvements to the lives of their working animals, which also protects human livelihoods.