Deborah visits India with animal welfare charity
The Brooke is an international animal welfare organisation dedicated to improving the lives of working horses, donkeys and mules in the poorest parts of the world.
On her recent visit to India with the charity Deborah wrote a diary about her experiences which, amongst other things, involved a surreal presentation to a group of villagers and brought the fearsome Dragon close tears.
Below is an extract from her diary.
Packing 3 days into 2 due to unforeseen problems with visas, means an early start for the journey to Meerut to meet the Qalander community, a now settled nomadic group of equine breeders who, once suspicious of the Brooke are working closely with great results.
Nomadic tribes conjure up romantic visions but what we saw was far from that. We were met by desperately poor people living in huts made of mud and straw which frequently get washed away by floods.
Before the Brooke intervention they were losing 8 out of 10 of their horses to a wrongly identified disease, making it worse by using the wrong medicine.
They were proud to show us through diagrams how this had changed, and how the Brooke had taught them how to identify, treat and prevent the diseases, now they only lose 2 out of 10 sick animals.
We had been talking to the men’s group but flashes of colour drew our eyes to the women sitting in shade and we walked over to meet and talk with them and learning that it was the women who during the day cut and carried the fodder and cared for the horses.
On our way we stop to see a group of their animals grazing and feel relieved to see them able to do what horses do naturally. Many of the animals we saw live in tight, unnatural conditions which we would describe as appalling but then so do the people.
See the video below for Deborah's interview about The Brooke with Horse and Country