Greyhounds – A Darker Side Of Spain
The Unacceptable Fate of Hunting Dogs in the Iberian Peninsula
Greyhounds – A Darker Side Of Spain – Greyhounds are an intelligent, gentle dog. We think of them as running like the wind. Unfortunately the life of a racing or hunting greyhound is one of suffering, neglect and barbaric cruelty. SOS Galgos was born from the realization of this misery. Thank you Mary for writing this informative article for A Beating Heart. Many more people in Canada will now be aware of the plight of the Spanish Galgos and will know how they can adopt one as a family pet or help in other ways.
Greyhounds – A Darker Side Of Spain – Whilst in this country we are accustomed to treating animals with kindness and respect, there is an unfortunate tradition in Spain that allows greyhounds to be cruelly abandoned after their useful life.
SOS Galgos based in Barcelona has been established as a non-profit organisation with the aim of rescuing and protecting these attractive and gentle animals. Bred for their speed and hunting ability in Spain, they are vulnerable to abuse and cruelty and, after their exploitation, thousands are discarded, while others may be hung or beaten with stones, thrown into pits or buried alive.
It was to address this appalling cruelty that SOS Galgos was founded in 2000 by Anna Clements and her husband Albert Sorde, a veterinary surgeon in Esplugues, a suburb of Barcelona.
14 Years Fighting For Spanish Greyhounds
SOS Galgos was founded in Esplugues, Barcelona in the year 2000, from the Tres Vet animal hospital, our primary veterinary centre. Founders Anna Clements and Albert Sorde met in Barcelona, sharing their love of animals and especially greyhounds.
It was after the closure of the Barcelona greyhound track in 1999, that Anna and her husband Albert decided to fight for the 700 racing greyhounds living in deplorable conditions.
During this time, the involvement of foreign associations that defend the rights of greyhounds was critical to overcome the passivity and lack of support from the Catalan and Spanish authorities.
Since then, SOS Galgos continues to fight to defend the rights of indigenous dogs used by hunters to course hares for sport, thousands of which are ultimately abandoned, hanged, beheaded or thrown into pits and ditches every year throughout Spain.
We conduct adoption programmes, but also work tirelessly to change legislation and promote education and awareness to challenge the root problem: the lack of control over breeding and absence of truly effective legislation.
We work to show the public that both retired racing greyhounds and those who are no longer able to hunt can serve as perfect domestic pets for the home.
The Aim Of SOS Galgos is to:
– help greyhounds in need, rescuing them and organising their adoption.
– work to change laws and to ensure better protection for all animals.
– educate and inform the public about the suitability of greyhounds as family pets.
– promote solidarity, involve the public and encourage everyone to do their part to solve the problem of animal abuse in Spain.
Once greyhounds are rescued from situations of neglect, they are cared for in a safe place where provision is made for their welfare while awaiting adoption. The organisation has a network of foster carers who look after the dogs until a suitable adoptive family has been found. The adoption programme has proved very successful with 2500 greyhounds being found new homes since its foundation.
Alongside this practical activity there is a programme of education to make the general public aware of the availability and suitability of greyhounds as pets and to inform the general population of the abuse they suffer. The aim throughout is to promote the importance of responsible ownership and of animal welfare in general.
In addition to talks in schools and other public venues the organisation continues to develop a profile in the media, through articles in the press and participation in radio and television programmes. Their work is also the subject of an award-winning film documentary currently being shown in cinemas in Barcelona and Madrid.
Moreover, there is an important political dimension to the organisation’s activities. An active campaign, involving organising petitions to the European Parliament and lobbying of MEPs, seeks ultimately to establish European laws which would help prevent the abuse and bring about a ban of the cruel sport of hunting with greyhounds.
Further details of the work of the organisation can be found on their interesting and informative website: