MADRID – Today is World Galgo Day. This means the fate of the Spanish galgo is considered. Because February 1 marks the end of the hunting season and with it the beginning of the massive abandonment or even killing of these hunting dogs.
Every year, after the hunting season, about 50,000 galgos are abandoned, according to animal rights organisations in Spain. World Galgo Day is therefore promoted by associations of friends of the greyhounds. Furthermore, they aim to make the general public aware of the abuse these animals undergo. They try to give the animals a second chance by rescuing them and offering them up for adoption as pets.
Galgo and podenco
The galgo is one of the breeds of dogs in Spain that suffers the most from humans. Another breed of dog that has a hard time in Spain is the Spanish Podenco. For centuries, galgo and podenco hunting has played a vital role in many rural Spanish communities. Here a large part of the population is ‘galguero’ (hunter).
Galgo as a disposable item
When the hunting season is over and the galgos are no longer “of use”, the greyhounds are discarded as a disposable item. In practice, this means that they are abandoned or killed, sometimes only after a long journey. Hunters deny they are responsible for this.
Today it is World Galgo Day! We join the awareness campaign of @yogalgo with pictures of dogs and cats of the employees and members of the board of CAS International! We ask attention for the situation in Spain, as many people still don't know this is happening. #FreeTheGalgo pic.twitter.com/3logHO9cRW
— CAS International (@CAS_Int) February 1, 2022
Many hounds are left to their own devices or taken to a shelter or killing station. Here they are killed after ten days in many federal states, with lack of space as the reason. However, before that, they usually sit starving and lonely in the desolate, chilly cages, waiting for their death. Animal activists and staff at shelters scour the killing stations in February to save as many galgos as possible.
Hung on trees
Less fortunate are the galgos that are left alive in pits. Here they have no chance of survival and they face starvation. Greyhounds that misbehave in the eyes of the hunters are often killed in a sadistic way: they are hung from trees just before touching the ground. This leads to a slow and brutal death.
Violent training methods
Apart from the phase after the hunting season, life as a hunting or running dog in Spain is also very hard. The training methods used demand a lot from them physically and mentally. Violence is often used to force the animals into their activities. An example of such training is the dog being tied to the back of a car, forced to run after the car while it is moving. In this way, they are tested for endurance and speed and they are trained for this.