The film, supported by former EastEnders star Pam St Clement, shows a paper donkey at the Christmas dinner table, having burst out of a cracker, helping deliver gravy and wine, playing with sprouts and hiding in a paper crown from the flaming Christmas pudding.
A spokesman for Brooke said the animation “invites the viewer to imagine if they relied on the humble donkey to get their Christmas dinner, as Victorians would likely have” and to remind people in the UK that “working animals are not just a thing of the past”.
“Donkeys have been a familiar feature of Christmas for centuries, but they were also once a familiar feature of rural and urban streets,” the spokesman said.
“Along with horses and mules, they were the powerhouses driving buses, working in coal mines and carrying food carts in the early 20th century, and had a major impact in the First World War. Today, they have largely disappeared from modern life in the UK, but there are still 100 million working horses, donkeys and mules working to provide food, water and a living to 600 million people worldwide.”
Ms St Clement was brought up in the 1950s on a hill farm that relied on heavy horses.
“We had two lovely horses and couldn’t have done without them,” she said.
“We didn’t have an alternative, and that’s the reality for so many people living in poorer communities in developing countries. I think we often forget that people rely on horses and donkeys to earn a living and put food on the table.”
Brooke, which was set up after the First World War, works to help improve the lives of horses and donkeys around the world, training vets and others and helping owners to better care for their animals.
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