Charity begins at home: Brooke supporters help out USA’s equine hurricane victims

© Brooke USA

More than $US33,000 has been raised by Brooke USA to help the equine victims of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, storms that have devastated communities in Florida and Texas, and further afield.

In the US this summer, Hurricanes Harvey and Irma left countless equine victims in their wakes.

After Hurricane Harvey, Brooke USA reached their fundraising goal of $25,000 as a match for donations to the USEF Equine Disaster Relief Fund, then turned their attention to help the victims of Irma, with an on-going fundraising campaign.

Brooke USA is the North American fundraising arm of international working equine charity Brooke.

Although Brooke USA’s mission is to improve the welfare of horses, donkeys and mules in the developing world, the scope of devastation by the natural disasters in Florida and Texas inspired Brooke USA to help make a difference at home this time.

While the initial effects of the hurricanes have passed, there are still many equines needing assistance following the storms. There is an urgent need for hay and feed, potable water, vet supplies, veterinary care, fencing and portable stalls. The damage to buildings and infrastructure may take years to repair.

All of the donations given to Brooke USA under this campaign will be used to benefit Irma’s equine victims through the USEF Equine Disaster Relief Fund. 100% of the donations will go to assist the animals.

Helping the brick kiln donkeys – one brick at a time

Brooke has launched a new video animation to encourage members of the public to order a brick kiln collection box. Supporters can fill their ‘bricks’ with spare change to help improve the lives of working horses, donkeys and mules around the world.

The video shows a healthy donkey watching Brooke’s television advert featuring a vulnerable donkey suffering from overloading as he works in the stifling heat of Pakistan’s brick kilns. Moved by the story, the healthy donkey orders several brick collection boxes from Brooke’s website, one for his home and one for his local vet’s reception desk, to help involve the local community.

Brick kiln collection boxes can be ordered from Brooke’s website and are delivered to supporters’ homes or workplaces. Once full, the proceeds can be sent to Brooke online, over the phone or via cheque.

Ben Portus, a vet and long-time supporter of Brooke who recently travelled to India’s brick kilns to help train local vets, recently visited the brick kilns in India and saw the terrible conditions the people and animals endure. “Just a small amount can pay to help train a local animal healthcare provider to be a fully qualified vet, relieving the suffering of these beasts of burden.”

The collection box appeal is part of Brooke’s How The Other Horse Lives campaign, which aims to highlight the differences between the daily lives of horses in the west and those working horses and donkeys in developing countries.

“Most riders won’t look the other way”

Allison Springer and Arthur at Burghley in 2012.
Allison Springer and Arthur at Burghley in 2012. © Mike Bain

US eventer Allison Springer has been named as a brand ambassador for Brooke USA. The veteran 4* event rider, trainer and coach based in Upperville, Virginia, began riding horses as a child after receiving her first pony and has since become one of the country’s top three-day eventing riders.

“When I wear the Brooke USA apparel or post things on social media, there’s always someone who reaches out and asks me about it. Something as simple as that is how it begins. Everyone wants to see their money go to a good cause, and within our equestrian world everyone can understand the need for equine welfare,” Springer said.

“As riders, it’s easier for us to see how much we ask of our horses and our responsibility to make sure that they’re happy and healthy. It’s the same way for these working equines around the world. It may be easier for people who aren’t related to the equestrian scene to overlook this global issue and merely go on with their vacation without thinking about it twice, but for us, we’re directly involved with equines and know the effort it takes to keep them performing comfortably. Most riders won’t look the other way.”

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