Dorothy Brooke's letter to the Morning Post

This letter was written by our founder Dorothy Brooke and published in The Morning Post (now the Telegraph) in 1931, alerting the British public to the plight of ex-war horses.

There have been several references lately in the columns of The Morning Post as to the possibility of raising a memorial to horses killed in the War. May I make a suggestion?

These old horses were, many of them, born and bred in the green fields of England – how many years since they have seen a field, heard a stream of water, or a kind word in English?

Out here, in Egypt, there are still many hundreds of old Army Horses sold of necessity at the cessation of the War. They are all over twenty years of age by now, and to say that the majority of them have fallen on hard times is to express it very mildly. Those sold at the end of the war have sunk to a very low rate of value indeed: they are past 'good work' and the majority of them drag out wretched days of toil in the ownership of masters too poor to feed them – too inured to hardship themselves to appreciate, in the faintest degree, the sufferings of animals in their hands.

These old horses were, many of them, born and bred in the green fields of England – how many years since they have seen a field, heard a stream of water, or a kind word in English?

Many are blind – all are skeletons.

If those who truly love horses ... will send contributions to help in giving a merciful end to our poor old war heroes, we shall be extremely grateful.

A fund is being raised to buy up these old horses. As most of them are the sole means of a precarious livelihood to their owners, adequate compensation must, of necessity, be given in each case. An animal out here, who would be considered far too old and decrepit to be worked in England, will have before him several years of ceaseless toil – and there are no Sundays or days of rest in this country. Many have been condemned and destroyed by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (not a branch of the RSPCA), but want of funds necessitates that all not totally unfit for work should be restored to their owners after treatment.

Dorothy Brooke with horse in Egypt

 

If those who truly love horses – who realise what it can mean to be very old, very hungry and thirsty, and very tired, in a country where hard, ceaseless work has to be done in great heat – will send contributions to help in giving a merciful end to our poor old war heroes, we shall be extremely grateful; and we venture to think that, in many ways, this may be as fitting (though unspectacular) part of a War Memorial as any other that could be devised.

Signed – Dorothy E. Brooke

Brooke's Chief Executive Petra Ingram reads Dorothy Brooke's letter to the Morning Post on 16 April 2018.

Our work continues today. If you would like to help working equines in some of the poorest countries in the world, please consider donating to Brooke.