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Home / Discussion about hunting dogs blocks new animal welfare law in Spain

Discussion about hunting dogs blocks new animal welfare law in Spain

The Ministry of Culture is currently blocking the proposal for a new Animal Welfare Law in Spain. The hunting sector is not satisfied with the measures applicable to hunting dogs. Some points of the new law are intended to combat the abandonment of dogs. Every year, more than 50,000 galgos, podencos and other hunting dogs are neglected and abandoned by hunters.

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Galgo © CAS International/AnimaNaturalis

Two months ago, the preliminary draft of the bill was approved. According to Sergio García Torres, director of the Directorate General for Animal Rights, uncontrolled dog breeding is at the root of the high numbers of abandoned dogs. The new law prohibits dog breeding by private individuals. Only professionals who follow animal welfare guidelines may still breed dogs. In addition, a new, national registration system must slow down the abandonment of animals. There will also be new standards for the size and facilities for housing more than five dogs. Pigeon shooting will be banned.

Hunting dogs are not pets

The hunting lobby reacts dismissively to these proposals. In their own words, their dogs are not pets and therefore should not be subject to the new law. Luis Planas, the Socialist Minister of Agriculture, argues that there should be a distinction between dogs intended for private use and for hunting. Furthermore, dog breeding should not be limited in places where hunting is an important source of income. According to a study by Deloitte, this sector generates 187,000 jobs. Moreover, the rural lifestyle in rural communities in Andalusia, Extremadura, Castile and León and Castile-La Mancha would be affected. Some of these regions are in the hands of the Socialists (PSOE). The Spanish newspaper El Confidencial states that the Andalusian elections are imminent and this is a sensitive issue that could damage electoral prospects of the PSOE.

Protection of galgos

From CAS we are concerned about the impact of this discussion on the protection of hunting dogs. Marius Kolff, Director:

“Once again the Spanish socialist party PSOE is leaving animals out in the cold. Because they are afraid of losing votes in certain rural regions, the party does not vote to protect the horrific mistreatment that hunting dogs have to endure. It is not about a few animals, no, at least 50,000 animals a year! In our fight against bullfighting, we also experienced this double standard for vote retention from PSOE.”

It is estimated that more than 50,000 galgos and other hunting dogs are dumped and/or killed after the hunting season. The hunters see the dogs as objects: when they no longer serve, they leave the animals to their fate. Sometimes they kill the animals by throwing them into wells or ravines or hanging them from trees. For example, in Tarancón in 2018 and 2021, two mass graves were found with at least 30 and 10 carcasses of galgos, respectively. These finds led to much commotion in Spanish society.

Campaign Save the Galgos

In October, CAS and the Spanish organization AnimaNaturalis launched the Save the Galgos campaign. We joined forces to draw attention to the galgo problem and to realize a better protection of the dogs. Since October, we have visited various regions, such as Madrid, Valencia, Catalonia. Andalusia and Aragon, where we have been educating the media and elected representatives about the need to improve the existing regulations and create new laws. After our visit in Andalusia, Senator Carles Mulet asked questions to the Spanish government about the situation of the galgos in the country. Among other things, he asked what actions are being taken to protect these hunting dogs from mistreatment.

Petition

Furthermore, we are collecting signatures with a petition that we will use as support in our lobbying activities. We want the new, national animal welfare law to protect hunting dogs. Sign our petition: savethegalgos.org

As part of our campaign, you can now send a letter to the Ministry of Culture asking them to stop blocking the new animal welfare law. The letter of text is in Spanish. Click here to send the letter.

Read the story of Menta, a galgo that was maltreated and dumped by hunters in Spain.

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