Gosnells couple Jill and Warren Barton have put their retirement plans on hold to help the descendants of Australian war horses in Egypt who are often stressed, over worked and too young for the hostile climate of the Middle East.
A visit to Egypt in 2013 left Mr and Mrs Barton shocked at the conditions of horses, donkeys and mules had to deal with so they sold their family home in Gosnells and relocated to Cairo to help care for the horses.
In 2014 the couple set up the Egypt Equine Aid, a free medical clinic in Cairo aimed at helping injured horses and to educate their owners about equine care.
They have only recently returned to Perth for a holiday.
Mrs Barton said the culture in Egypt was different to Australia with families relying on their horses and donkeys for survival.
“Most people in Egypt believe the animals don’t feel pain so as long as the animal can stand and walk they keep them working,” she said.
“Horses and donkeys are prey animals so often they don’t show their distress for fear of attracting predators and because the horses can still work and don’t cry or yelp their owners think the horses are okay even if they’re severely injured.”
Mrs Barton said she and her husband stepped in to help the horses because the locals had never been taught how to care for them and the majority of owners could not afford to pay for medical treatment.
“The animals come to Egypt Equine Aid with terrible injuries and are cared for by volunteers, student and visiting veterinarians and a small paid staff,” she said.
“We take in horses and donkeys, treat them and educate their owners about better animal husbandry so the animal can live pain-free lives again and their owners can earn a living for their families.”
Mrs Barton said Egypt Equine Aid relied on donations and were thankful for a small grant received from the Australian Embassy in Cairo to help them with much needed equipment.
To donate or for more information visit egyptequinaid.org.