This is the text of a presentation I made at the PAES International Conference on Animal Welfare in October 2016.
Let’s look at estimated ANNUAL figures for uncontrolled breeding of galgos and podencos.
Back in the early 1990’s, a friend of mine who was a Daily Mail staff photographer, was visiting the Castile-la Mancha province. His guide walked him into an olive grove where Jim photographed the olive trees, most of which had a dead galgo hanging from them, which made headlines in the paper.
In 2009 SOS Galgos (Barcelona) claimed on their website that 160 galgos were abandoned every day.
That equates to 58,400 galgos every year, abandoned or dumped in perreras for killing, including reports of galgos hung in olive groves. With all the adverse publicity, the galgueros responded by abandoning their dogs and dumping them in perreras in greater numbers. There are now fewer instances of hangings because – however much the galgueros claim ‘there are no hangings’ – digital photos on the Internet accurately show dates and times and show the real truth. And because now one or two associations are not afraid of instigating court action against these dog-murdering men. And I’m talking about podencos being hung, as well as galgos.
Move on a few years, let’s look at figures again.
There are about 250,000 galgueros in Spain, maybe as many unregistered ones too. Every galguero has at least 2 dogs, some have as many as a dozen or more. So say 250,000 registered galgueros each with 2 dogs – that’s 500,000 galgos. Say a third of those are female, 83,000 galgas. Most will be pregnant, each having an average of 6-8 puppies. So we get 83,000 bitches with a litter of 6 puppies (being conservative). That’s 458,000 galgo puppies.
Bit exaggerated, you think. Well, here’s an example. 2 very pregnant galgo bitches dumped at a refuge in Seville province in February this year gave birth to 19 puppies between them. That makes 21 galgos – from just 2 bitches, just in one month, in one refuge.
That’s not counting the galgos the galgueros abandon to live on the campo, covered by any dog in the vicinity producing yet more puppies!
90% of them will be abandoned, dumped, murdered. The galgueros will only choose one or two pups they think will make good hunters/racers.
And these figures don’t include the galgos with unregistered galgueros and gitanos.
Figures for cazadores/podenqueros – are more difficult to obtain, partly because there does not appear to be one overall federation governing the different hunting associations – Federacio Andaluz de Caza seems the nearest. BUT we know there are dozens of small localised associations, some having as many as 3-4,000 members. The main podencos used by these cazas are Ibicencos and Andaluz. Some of these cazadores may have as many as 15 dogs each. So as a guestimate, let’s say there are 10,000 cazadores each with, say, 4 dogs. So that’s 40,000 podencos. Say 10,000 are bitches - each having 4 pups – 40,000 podencos puppies. That’s not counting the Podenco Campanero, Maneto, Orito, Erbano – used in much smaller numbers. Just on mainland Spain.
On the Canary Islands there are about 300 members of each hunting association on the 3 main Islands – Gran Canaria, Tenerife, Lanzarote, plus say another 100 on Fuerteventura and El Hierro. That’s 1,000 podenqueros/cazadores. Say each has 2 Podenco Canarios, that’s 2,000; say a third are bitches – 660 – who each have 6 pups, 3,600 podenco puppies. There are other breed of hounds used for hunting the moufflon.
It is estimated there are 85,000 podencos in the Canary Islands.
And these figures do not include the number of cazadores in Portugal who hunt with podencos.
Nor do these figures include the number of podencos in Rehalas – there can be as many as 40 dogs kept for hire for hunting.
And remember – bitches can have 2 litters/year – many galgos and podencos are used as breeding machines for maybe 6 or 7 years.
So a galga could have 6 puppies/year X 6 = 36 puppies in 6 years X 100,000 bitches = 3,600,000 puppies.
To see more, look at the Milanuncios.com website – for galgos and podencos...you’ll get the idea of the magnitude. There is at least 1 galgo/5 mins advertised for sale, including bitches with pups. Not quite the same number of podencos but Jack Russell terriers and Pointers are also advertised there....