DutchGalgoLobby Foundation aims to lobby for the interests of galgos and podencos, Spanish hunting dogs. Galgos and podencos are an ancient breed of sighthounds. Although these dogs were once bred by the nobles, now they both are among the most exploited dogs due to their intelligence, speed and superior hunting capabilities. As a consequence, these Spanish hunting dogs are subjected to horrific practices in the hunt.
The suffering of animals caused by the Spanish hunting industry is enormous. The hunt in Spain is legal and the lobby for hunting is strongly represented. Historically, the hunt was developed by the noble and elite and it was a seasonal sport. Nowadays, the hunting grounds occupy 86% of the national territory. There are an estimated 2,500,000 podencos and galgos exploited in the Spanish hunting industry, around 1,600,000 podencos and 900,000 galgos. An estimated number of 50,000 galgos are yearly dumped in cruel and unacceptable ways. The number of the podencos must be even higher. Only around 10% of the dogs rescued in Spain are galgos. This reveals how many souls must be claimed by the hard hunting industry, where it is common knowledge (OR common practice) that redundant hunting dogs are hanged silently in their dark sheds by their hunter.
Many galgos and podencos lose their life when being discarded by their galgueros once the hunting season is over. Rescue organisations try to convince galgueros to allow them to take care of their no longer wanted galgos and podencos. Campaigning on awareness that galgos and podencos are family dogs, and not only “useful” for hunting, also helps bridge the big gap between the hunting industry and the rescues (OR civil population). But there is still a long way to go.
The European Parliament’s Intergroup on the Welfare and Conservation of Animals is closely following the development of the situation of the galgos and podencos, since they are being deprived of their rights as Sentient Beings (Article 13 Lisbon Treaty). The director of the Spanish Dirección General de Derechos de los Animales, Sergio Garcia Torres, is aiming to improve the miserable situation of the galgos and podencos. Still in some parts of Spain, hunting dogs face legal exclusion from basic rights and protection.
The galgo-lobby is a developed lobby in Europe, where these dogs are much exploited for their specific characteristics as sighthounds, including their speed and hunting abilities. Galgos are traditionally used for hare coursing in the countryside and sometimes on enclosed tracks. A very important development is that the galgo-lobby also represents the podenco: ‘The Great Forgotten’. Podencos are mostly used and abused in the Rehalas and Monterias: the driven hunt. The number of podencos greatly exceeds the number of galgos in Spain. These dogs live mostly hidden in dark and filthy barns on one meter chains.
We aim to improve the welfare of galgos and podencos, mainly by improving the legal framework to give these dogs rights and protection, which also implies boundaries for the hunting industry on how to keep, breed and treat the sighthound hunting dogs.