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Home / World Galgo Day: 50,000 hunting dogs await uncertain future in Spain

World Galgo Day: 50,000 hunting dogs await uncertain future in Spain


World Galgo Day (1 February) marks the end of hare hunting in Spain. It is the beginning of an uncertain future for many hunting dogs. They will then be dumped and/or killed en masse when they are no longer suitable for hunting. More than 50,000 galgos, podencos and other dogs are affected. Spanish legislation hardly protects these dogs. Hunting dogs were even removed from the bill for a new national animal welfare law after pressure from the hunting sector.


Galgo | @ CAS Interntional/AnimaNaturalis

For CAS International World Galgo Day is a bit more dark this year: Spain is about to vote for the first national animal welfare law, and hunting dogs are left out. It is a remarkable situation: the governing parties PSOE and Unidas Podemos jointly presented this bill to the Council of Ministers, which then approved it. The hunting sector then threatened that the socialists would lose the state elections in rural areas because of this move. Hunters framed the bill as an attack on rural life in Spain. And that threat became reality in Andalusia’s last elections: the socialists lost dramatically. After this, the PSOE, with the support of opposition parties, deleted hunting dogs from the bill.

Maite van Gerwen, director of CAS International:

“For hunting dogs, it is a tragedy that they are excluded from the new animal welfare law, because this way the abandonment, mistreatment and killing of these dogs will simply go unpunished in Spain.”

50,000 hunting dogs abandoned

The vote on the bill will take place in February. Exactly in the month when Spanish hunting dogs are abandoned en masse. Hunters then get rid of their dogs. They are run over, hung from trees, thrown into wells; the fortunate dogs are abandoned and end up in shelters. Shelters are overflowing with abandoned dogs. A small proportion of hunters themselves bring their hunting dogs to the shelter.

CAS International is concerned about the removal of hunting dogs from the bill. CAS has been working intensively with the Spanish organization AnimaNaturalis over the past two years to improve the welfare of these dogs. For instance, we conduct research and do political lobby to ask the government to protect hunting dogs by the law. In 2022, we conducted an investigation on kennels at hunters in 29 different locations. We found hunting dogs sitting in their own faeces and depending on contaminated water in their drinking troughs. According to the vets who participated in our investigation, the dogs exhibited behaviour resulting from prolonged captivity. Animals were also restricted in their movement by chains and showed signs of poor health such as lameness.

Human victims

Hunting also hampers the development of rural areas for recreation or tourism: 87 per cent of Spanish territory is hunting territory. Last year, 15 people died and 47 were injured during hunting activities. There was another casualty in January: an 87-year-old man taking a forest walk.

Mass protests 5 February

This Sunday, 5 February, there will be mass protests in Spain against the abandonment and/or killing of hunting dogs. CAS International will participate in several Spanish cities. The protest is being organized by the Spanish platform NAC. No A la Caza, in 45 Spanish cities. Outside Spain, protests will take place in 18 European cities.


Galgo © CAS International/AnimaNaturalis

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