Jul 192011

I have just been approached by a very high profile Spanish organization that is campaigning against animal cruelty in Spain.  This, of course, should be of interest to any right minded person and I hope that you will do your ‘bit’ to support them – and the many other organisations in Spain that do so much to help injured or homeless animals here.

Certainly, there is animal cruelty in Spain – just as there is in any country in the world.  However, it would be quite wrong to think that all Spaniards are cruel to their animals.  That is far from the case and you have only to attend a local festival like San Antonio to see that the vast majority of Spaniards love their pets and care for their animals.

However, there are enough Spaniards around who are cruel to their animals to give cause for genuine concern.  Yoquierogalgos (I love greyhounds) is a Spanish organization that highlights monstrous cruelty in Spain against greyhounds – focusing on these lovely dogs to highlight the problems of animal cruelty in Spain.

Certainly, Yoquierogalgos illustrate some stomach churning stories to illustrate cruelty to animals in Spain.  For example, some 50,000 (!!!) greyhounds are dumped every year after the end of the greyhound racing season in January/February.  These dogs have a racing life of two years and then are, quite simply, disposed by their owners, like rancid meat.

Meanwhile, the training of greyhounds is often brutal with tying a greyhound to a car for ‘training’ (‘el galgo a motor’) actually still legal in Andalusia.  In many cases, the dogs concerned die, are run over or go blind from the effort involved in keeping up with an accelerating vehicle.

Needless to say, illicit dog fighting in Spain continues in many areas of the country.  This is a particularly revolting sport that has disappeared from most civilized countries long ago.  Tragically, this is not the case here and many large family dogs are stolen only because they can be used as bait and practice for fighting dogs.  Often the stolen dogs used for ‘practice’ have their teeth removed before being forced to fight, so that they do not damage the valuable fighting dogs.  Disgusting.

Part of the problem is that the sanctions for animal cruelty in Spain are laughable. At best, if someone is found guilty of cruelty to animals in Spain they will receive a fine of 100 Euros!  There are no prison sentences available to the courts to punish cruelty to animals and often the Spanish police are reluctant to take action.

Yoquierogalgos told me of a recent case where a man murdered and tortured a puppy.  This was recorded on video, posted on the Internet and showed the dog being tortured for 29-minutes – during which the poor creature was burned, had its limbs broken and objects inserted inside it.  After months of investigation (following numerous complaints) the culprit was found and identified as a Treasury official in Badajoz who already had a history of torturing dogs.  He was issued with a fine…

As Yoquierogalgos say: “Unfortunately, this is the reality in Spain. If nothing happens to a psychopath like the man in Badajoz then what will exists to punish hunters, gypsies and dog breeders who are also guilty of continuous and terrible cruelty?”

Clearly, something needs to be done and a start would be to have realistic punishments in place for anyone guilty of cruelty to animals in Spain.  This is certainly something for which Yoquierogalgos are campaigning.  They are also, of course, trying hard to change the culture of cruelty that clearly exists in some sections of Spanish society.  Needless to say, this is the long range solution but perhaps the most important one to tackle and one that you can help with – by changing the opinions of those who feel animal cruelty (anywhere in the world) is acceptable.

Interestingly, Yoquierogalgos have some really powerful support for their campaign against animal cruelty in Spain and have enlisted some of the biggest ‘names’in Spain to help them.  These include people like Malu, Alexandra Jiménez, Rocío Madrid, Sandra Barneda,  Mariano Alameda and Monica Naranjo amongst many others.  To put these people in perspective Malu is a major pop star, Rocío Madrid is a TV presenter and actress, Sandra Barneda is a nationally known journalist and TV presenter, Mariano Alameda is a famous actor and Monica Naranjo is a very well known multi-million record selling star.

So, do have a look at the site of Yoquierogalgos (it is also in English) and give them your support.  But, beware – some images are very disturbing. Finally, if you have time, do not forget your local animal sanctuaries (near me in Valencia Province it is SPAMA ) many of whom do wonderful work.

Nick Snelling - Culture Spain


 Yoquierogalgos magazine    

Yoquierogalgos web site    

Pets in Spain

The San Antonio Fiesta

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