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Vets in Practice TV star, Emma Milne, has returned to Egypt with the Brooke Hospital for Animals to raise awareness of the plight of donkeys slaving in the brick kilns of Cairo.

Emma first witnessed the suffering of these animals when she visited brick kiln sites with the Brooke last year.

Donkeys often work 12-hour days in temperatures as high as 50 degrees Celsius, pulling heavy loads on carts to and from the furnaces, and are often worked to death.

Today, the Brooke’s mobile teams provide free treatment for the donkeys. They also educate brick kiln owners and workers in equine care, install water troughs and shade shelters and work to improve the design of harnesses and saddle packs.

Although conditions are still appalling within the kilns, a new mobile vehicle, bought with money raised from an article in the People newspaper, has been purchased and is making a difference.

“When I first visited the brick kiln site, I saw donkeys quite literally being flogged to death while hauling bricks,” says Emma.

“This new vehicle allows another whole mobile team of educators and vets to operate and is much more suited to the rough terrain in which they work.”

Bill Swan, the Brooke’s international director, added: “This new mobile team will enable Brooke to visit the site at a frequency where we can make a real difference and ultimately bring about lasting change.”

On her second visit, Emma was relieved to notice a positive year-on-year change in the condition of the donkeys: “I was over the moon with the progress which has happened in just one year,” she said.

“The donkeys had fewer wounds, they were better fed and looked less defeated. But there is still a long way to go.”