hanging horror of Spain's hunting dogs
new investigation by international charity the World Society
for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) has exposed the way in
which thousands of Spanish greyhounds (known as galgos), are
hanged following the end of the hare coursing season at the
start of each year.
The results of the investigation, carried out in the Castilla y Leon and Castilla la Mancha regions of Spain in March this year - with the assistance of Spanish organisation Scooby (Sociedad Protectora de Animales Scooby), reveal widespread evidence that the age-old tradition of hanging dogs in Spain continues to this day. WSPA estimates that tens of thousands of galgos are being bred and killed annually in rural areas.
discovered dead dogs with nooses around their necks dumped
in shallow graves, or lying under trees where they had been
hung and, on a rubbish tip outside the village of Rueda near
Tordesillas, investigators witnessed the gruesome sight of
a dead galgo hanging from a willow tree. The skeletal remains
of galgos were commonplace as well as evidence of hung dogs
being set on fire, with melted nooses hanging above fresh
bones and ash on the ground below.
WSPA also learnt how dogs that have raced badly are typically hung low in a slow death known as 'the piano player' due to the frantic scrabbling of their legs in a vain attempt to touch the ground. Those who have raced well are hung high, resulting in a quicker death.
Unwanted galgos may also be stoned, tied up and left to starve, staked in a pond to drown or thrown into wells and set on fire.
Alistair Findlay, WSPA investigator, said, "It is scandalous that Spain, a country currently holding presidency of the European Union, is allowing man's best friend to be so cruelly and callously abused in this manner.
This is a graphic example of why a national animal welfare law is so desperately needed in Spain."
At present, it is not illegal to kill a dog by hanging in Andalucia and Extremadura, where there are no animal protection laws. In Castilla y Leon a law threatening a fine of 15,000 Euros to anyone hanging a dog has yet to be enforced.
WSPA has written to the Spanish authorities, calling on this EU member state to finally adopt a national animal welfare law that would outlaw such cruelty.