By Meredith Ayan, Executive Director
In 2013, a team from SPCA International traveled to Barcelona, Spain, to meet with our partner organization, SOS Galgos. For years they have been working to stop the torture of Spanish Greyhounds (galgos) in Spain. Since that first field work trip, the partnership between SPCAI and SOS Galgos has blossomed into a force fighting for ending the practice of hare coursing in Spain.
Over the years we have been on the front lines of this issue. From protesting through the streets of Barcelona to speaking at the Congress of Deputies in Madrid we have seized opportunities to speak out against this cruel practice.
Around the world, the most important component to ending cruelty toward animals is humane education. It has always been an important piece of SOS Galgos work. Now, after 4 years of planning, SOS Galgos is proud to announce they have broken ground (VIDEO) on a humane education center in Esplugues near Barcelona; the first of its kind anywhere in the world. They have been granted land by the government to educate the community and encourage participation. SPCA International has pledged our largest Shelter Support Fund grant ever to ensure the future of this project - $40,000 over two years.
I recently received this message from SOS Galgos founder, Anna Clements:
“First steps towards the construction of our very first education centre.
The first phase, of what has seemed like an obstacle race in order to set up our school in Esplugues, has begun. A substantial piece of land, granted to us by the local council, will serve as a school to help teach local children about responsible pet ownership as well as help people with special needs, the focus always being on rescued galgos whom will always be present at the school.
We have had to endure huge bureaucratic set backs but today, finally, machines were at work on the land to get some basic work started.
Let's hope that this will be the start of a model that can be implanted all around Spain to contribute to improve the welfare of galgos, and all animals in general for that matter, for generations to come.
Thanks to the grant given to us by SPCA International as well as your donations, we will be able to fund the rental of the [prefab] building, the fencing and the architect's fees.”
Together, SPCAI and SOS Galgos will continue to work to end the suffering of these beautiful, gentle animals. Community education will ensure that future generations have compassion and empathy toward animals and understand why the tradition of hare coursing with galgo and podenco are inhumane. Together we are making our world a better place.
To add your voice, please sign our Spanish Greyhound petition encouraging the government to outlaw this cruel practice.