On Wednesday 8th March, Anja Hazekamp (MEP, GUE/NGL – Netherlands), Vice-President of the European Parliament’s Intergroup on the Welfare and Conservation of Animals, hosted the event “Broken spirit – The galgo’s last run”, which focused on the fate of galgos in Spain. Representatives from Greyhound Rescue Holland and Dutch Galgo Lobby also attended the event.
In her introductory remarks Anja Hazekamp explained the current situation. Each year, about 50 000 galgos and podencos get physically and mentally exhausted by cruel training methods and hunting races in Spain. “I think it is highly important to raise attention in the European Parliament on the mistreatment of these dogs ”, she said. “Indeed these dogs can be mutilated or hanged on trees for days before they die if they are not fast enough. We must urge the competent Spanish regional authorities to stop this”, she added.
Wilma van der Wel, President of the Dutch Galgo Lobby, presented the work of her organisation. For many years, they have been campaigning against the ill-treatment of galgos, but so far, they have not succeeded in achieving concrete results. Also an EP written declaration couldn’t help to make a change. “In Spain the galgo is not considered as a pet but as a utility animal”, she said. Volunteers prove that public awareness is there but effective legal protection is still lacking.
Karen Soeters, Chief Editor and founder of “Animals Today”, introduced a documentary where she can be seen traveling to Spain and speaking with rescue groups, shelters and galgueros (hunters) about the fate of the Spanish galgo. The documentary shows the reality of galgos that are dumped or killed, because they are no longer fast enough for hunting. The dogs are trained by tying them behind cars, bikes or horses and forcing them to run. Many galgueros consider them as mere hunting tools. Karen Soeters said “We have to do everything we can to put an end to the mistreatment of galgos”.
Stefan Eck (MEP, GUE/NGL – Germany) added that people need to be informed about this brutal reality, MEPs and civil society alike. The fact that galgueros are already worried about the petitions and the documentary shows that we are on the right track.
Anja Hazekamp concluded by saying that we have to raise awareness on the issue of galgos among MEPs for “working together to end this”.
Here is the link to the documentary: https://vimeo.com/197089467