Saving the galgos
By Vicki McLeod
About 150 people and dogs took to the streets of Palma last weekend to protest about the terrible treatment of “Galgos” in Spain. The Galgo Español (Spanish galgo) or Spanish greyhound is an ancient breed of dog, specifically a member of the sight hound family.
A staggering 50`000 dogs are put down every year at the end of the hunting season in Spain. The reasons given are that the dogs weren’t good enough hunting dogs, that they were too old (and by this they mean around three years old), or even that the hunter in question just can’t be bothered to look after the animals until the next season. The manner in which these dogs are put down cruel, lazy and in the views of many, totally unacceptable. The dogs are left to starve to death, or they are beaten until they die, or shot, or run over by a vehicle or even hung by their necks, the hunters call that “playing the piano” because of the way that the animals move as they are dying. There are even crueller practices than this but out of respect to the kind readers of Pet Project I am not going to name them. The animals aren’t treated well when they are alive either, it’s a disgrace that the practices are not regulated or policed thoroughly and that it seems to be accepted as the norm by so many.
It’s calculated that about 60% of animals which are abandoned in Spain are Galgos. It’s very saddening because the Galgo is a lovely, kind, peaceful breed which is great in the house (they love to chill out and sleep), very good with children and other animals and an absolute delight to watch in action when they are out on their runs. The Galgo is not only “the Spanish greyhound” but also “the Spanish dog”. The breed has a long and noble history in Spain stretching back over hundreds of years. Its name is probably derived from the Latin “Canis Gallicus” or “Dog from Gaul”. The Spanish word for all kinds of Greyhounds – including the Galgo – is “lebrel”, which means “harrier” or “dog for chasing hares”, since “liebre” is Spanish for hare.
Thanks to Christian Smith for his photos of the event. You can see more of his work at christiansmithphotography.tumblr.com.
If you want to meet or adopt a Galgo then ask at your local animal refuge. You can find a list of your local refuges online at http://www.petprojectmallorca.com where you can also see previous Pet Project articles.
About Pet Project.
Every week Pet Project aims to help to help an animal rescue organisation in Majorca to raise awareness and funds, or to help rehome or foster out an animal. Pet Project is a collaboration between the Majorca Daily Bulletin, the PR firm Phoenix Media, the animal refuges, and some of the island’s best professional and amateur photographers. If you can help then get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org.