The Duchess of Cornwall has become president of the Brooke, one of Britain’s leading equine charities. Earlier today the Duchess carried out her first official duty as president, visiting the Brooke’s work in the earthquake-afflicted area of Pakistan.

“We are delighted Her Royal Highness is now formally involved with the charity,” said Mike Baker, the Brooke’s Chief Executive. “Her presidency is a great boost for both our staff and animal owners worldwide, in particular for those people affected by the devastating earthquake in Pakistan.”

”Duchess

Each year the Brooke helps millions of working equines and their owners in the poorest parts of the world. In March the Duchess visited the charity’s work in Cairo, Egypt, where it was founded 72 years ago by Mrs Dorothy Brooke. Afterwards she accepted the Brooke’s invitation to take on the presidency. “It’s a great honour – a royal figurehead gives us lots of prestige,” said a spokesperson for the Brooke.

This morning the Duchess visited the Brooke’s work at the scene of last October’s earthquake which claimed the lives of 500,000 equines and devastated countless communities. She was shown how the charity helped save hundreds of equines – the most precious asset of many people – and provided long term support to animal owners.

Since in this part of Pakistan women are responsible for the care of animals, the Brooke offered thousands of women advice and training in animal welfare, and encouraged them to understand the importance of their animals.

Over the last few years the charity’s extensive network of mobile teams has provided free veterinary care, training and education programmes for animal owners across nine countries worldwide and has recently embarked on a project to reach one million working horses and donkeys in Ethiopia by 2010.