In 1930, Dorothy Brooke, the wife of a British army Major General, travelled to Cairo, where she encountered horses that were very severely undernourished and abused, and realised that these walking skeletons were ex-cavalry horses and mules from overseas, all of which had been in the First World War. When the conflict ended in 1918, most of them were sold into a life of hard labour. Mrs. Brooke could not ignore the sight of these pitiful creatures and, from Cairo, she wrote a letter to the Morning Post (which later became the Daily Telegraph) exposing their plight.
The public were so moved they sent her the equivalent of £20,000 to help end the suffering of these once proud horses. Within three years, Dorothy Brooke had set up a committee and bought 5,000 - most of which were in the final stages of collapse, and had to be humanely put down. However, thanks to her compassion and tenacity, all of them ended their lives peacefully. But Dorothy Brooke knew that her work could not end there, thousands of horses, donkeys and mules toiled and suffered in Cairo.
In 1934, following further appeals and financial support, Dorothy Brooke founded the ‘Old War Horse Memorial Hospital’ in Cairo, with the promise of free veterinary care for all the city’s working equines. Brooke Hospital for Animals Egypt was born.