for You & Your Hound
The 1st February every year has become known as World Galgo Day (Día Del Galgo). This date marks the end of the hunting season in Spain when many Galgos will lose their lives. It is not a day to be celebrated, but a day to help spread awareness and try to impact change.
This time of year is always incredibly hard for us at Blas & Co. Pepa, our sweet rainbow girl, was a Galgo rescued in Spain and who travelled to the UK to escape her fate. We saw first hand how terribly she was treated and the impact it had on her, and she was one of the lucky ones.
The situation at the moment seems very dire, but that doesn’t mean that change isn’t possible or there is nothing that can be done to help. The first step is spreading the word and the more people that understand the reality of what is happening, the better.
Read on to learn more…
What is a Galgo?
Officially known as Galgo Español, or the ‘Spanish Greyhound’, Galgos are an ancient member of the sighthound family and can actually be quite physically different to Greyhounds – built more for agility than outright speed.
Once a highly respected breed, they have been reduced to disposable hunting tools in more modern times. They are known for their gentle, calm nature and love nothing more than to sleep the day away on a comfy sofa – but still love a good zoomie given the chance! They generally have a higher endurance than Greyhounds so can run for longer periods, and have the ability to change direction more quickly at speed (which we can certainly confirm!).
They can have coats in all the usual sighthound colours but, unlike Greyhounds, Galgos can be both smooth and rough haired! They are some of the most beautiful, kind and loving members of the sighthound family, and we just cannot convey the amount of sweetness and love we received from Pepa during the short time she was with us.
Why are Galgos killed and abandoned?
The annual hunting season in Spain runs from October to January. Galgos are bred heavily during the warmer months in preparation for the start of hunting season, but once it ends, on 1st February (World Galgo Day), most of them are deemed to have outlived their usefulness or are too injured to continue into the following season.
The hunters, or Galgueros as they are known, torture and kill the Galgos in horrific ways once they are no longer needed. If a dog “performed” badly then it is punished for the shame it brought upon its hunter. It is even believed by some Galgueros that the more pain a dog suffers during its death the more luck they will have the following season…
It is estimated that between 50,000 and 100,000 Galgos are killed every single year in Spain
Poisoning, stoning, burning and even hanging (in a practice known to hunters as “Playing the Piano” – due to the way their feet dance on the ground as they suffocate) are all too common ways for Galgos to be killed.
However, not all Galgos are killed during this time. Some of the very lucky ones are given to public shelters (perrera municipal) or overflowing local rescue charities. Others are abandoned into the countryside, often deliberately maimed to prevent them returning, and forced to scavenge for food. Some make it to the cities where they may find shelter, warmth and, if they are lucky, a kind stranger to help them.
The entire process is needlessly brutal. Brought about by over breeding, greed and a complete lack of empathy for these intelligent, gentle animals…
Not something you imagine would ever be allowed to happen in a modern day Spain.
What is being done to help the Galgos?
The current situation is horrific, there is no doubt, but there is still hope.
Spanish Rescues are working hard to raise awareness and to rescue and rehome as many dogs as possible. Some, such as Galgos del Sur, are also very active in the Spanish political and legal sphere too, fighting for Galgos and other animals in cases of animal abandonment and bad treatment.
A new animal welfare law (la Ley del Bienestar Animal) was recently passed in Spanish congress that would afford dogs (and other animals) greater protections and, for a time, looked to be a huge step forward for the safety of Galgos. Sadly, after successful lobbying by proponents of hunting, they have unbelievably now been specifically excluded from this new law. But it shows that change can happen if there is enough people push for it.
At this time of year rescue centres all over Spain are overwhelmed by the huge influx of new dogs and can really struggle to cope, and Galgos del Sur are no different – they currently have over 130 dogs in their care and are already 25k euros in debt for vet bills, even before the inevitable influx of new hounds starts to come in this February.
Many more are in a similar position – Galgos Del Sol, Fundación Benjamín Mehnert and Galgos en Familia to name just a few – and they all rely on donations and the support of volunteers to continue their work
What can you do to help the Galgos?
World Galgo Day is a reminder and an opportunity to show your support for the efforts of Galgo charities and to spread awareness as far as you can.
Spread the word! Share this article, share other articles, bring it up in conversation with your local hound communities. The more people that are aware and invested, the better the chance of change.
If you are in a position to make a donation to one or more of these charities then please do, they need it now more than ever.
If you are thinking of adopting a sighthound then please consider adopting a Galgo. Spanish rescues work with many international charities to facilitate the adoption of Galgos outside of Spain, such as Project Galgo in the UK. So please get in touch with them and start a conversation if you are in a position to do so.
What are Blas & Co doing to help?
This time of year is always incredibly hard for us as you might imagine, but luckily this year Blas & Co is in a position where we are able to do a little bit more than usual to help out.
The beneficiary of our Future Fashounds fund this quarter is one of the charities mentioned above, the wonderful Galgos del Sur, and we hope to give them some much needed help at this time of year.
In addition, up until 1st February 2023, World Galgo Day, we will be doubling our contributions to the Future Fashounds fund for all sales made via our website – donating £2 for every garment sold instead of the usual £1.
It’s not much, but hopefully it will go some way to helping this amazing charity during their worst time of the year.
Together we can help the Galgos that are already in harm’s way, and maybe even start to effect change to a system that still puts the Galgueros above the Galgos.