Every year, tens of thousands of dogs that have been used for hunting are abandoned when February arrives, the month that determines the end of the season in many autonomous communities. Millions of other animals, such as partridges, chamois or rabbits, are killed by gunfire and traps. This reality has not changed even in times of pandemic, as hunters have seen that they had a green card to bypass confinements in many places and have continued to kill without any penalty. This is one of the complaints that since NAC Platform (No Hunting) They add this year to their annual call, which calls for the end of hunting and the use of dogs in this activity. More than thirty cities will take to the streets again next Sunday.
These demonstrations have been held in February for ten years –since 2011–, thanks to this Platform that brings together more than 200 animal and environmental associations, protectors and political parties. “Hunting should be prohibited in all protected natural areas and throughout the Natura 2000 Network As special Biodiversity Conservation zones, it is inconceivable not only that hunting activity is being allowed in them, but also the release and repopulation with farm animals, which displace the native fauna, create hybrids and spread diseases “, comments the Platform NAC spokesperson, David Zurdo.
Dogs and other animals, hunting victims
The real figures of the consequences of this activity are difficult to obtain, but the approximate ones are impressive. The most comprehensive study remains that of the Affinity Foundation, which shows that, at least in 2019, the protectors rescued 183,000 dogs, 70% of them hunting dogs, that is, about 128,000 dogs, of which it is estimated that at least 50,000 were greyhounds. The reasons for their dismissal are many: because they are not “valid”, because they are slow, because they are unwanted puppies, because they do not have the required qualities, because they are old or simply because they are not ‘useful’ for hunting. “In many cases, the treatment they are given is the same as what you would give to a work tool when it stops working, when it has worn out: they are no longer useful and they get rid of them,” says Zurdo.
From Plataforma NAC they also highlight that the way of getting rid of dogs is also especially cruel: “We can see it every day on social networks: dogs thrown into ravines, put in sacks, thrown into rivers, hanged, beaten, shot and abandoned injured”. GreyhoundsIn particular, they are not only at risk of being exploited in hunting, but also in racing, which means that they can be ‘discarded’ for more reasons.
And what happens between hunt and hunt or between competition and competition? “They spend their days in zulos, since the theft of greyhounds is widespread, even among the galgueros themselves, and the cheniles for the category dogs become small bunkers with tiny windows, concrete walls and steel doors. Others live in caves or in enclosures made with pallets and corrugated iron “, they explain from NAC. “The life of the greyhound is short and cruel.” Daily training – tied to cars, exhausted, with injuries – and exploitation to have offspring to trade with are realities that are openly known, and even from Europe has asked itself to end them.
Responsible tenure laws that do not apply
Another of the complaints made by the protectors and animal and environmental organizations is the impunity that exists for hunters with respect to the responsible possession of animals. While everything owner of dogs must have them with an identification chip, keep them on a leash except in the established zones and times, and go through a series of veterinary checks and vaccinations, it does not seem that there is great legal pressure for this to happen with dogs used in hunting. The study by the Affinity Foundation shows that 72% of rescued dogs did not have a chip, a fact that is corroborated by specialized greyhound protectors such as, for example, the sevillian foundation Benjamin Mehnert.
“We have all seen images of herds of dogs harassing deer or wild boar, even in urban areas, animals loose, uncontrolled, away from their owners who are taught to bite and hold, and who we doubt know how to differentiate a hunting animal from a domestic animal or farm. Hunting with dogs is a danger for any person or animal that is in the field “, they denounce from the Platform, also pointing out the traffic accidents they cause.
Hunting impunity during Covid-19
Asked about the hunting situation in a context in which both travel and outdoor activities have been radically limited, the responses from different governments have been surprising. While is still prohibited in communities such as Castilla y León Going for a walk, exercising in the fields or traveling to see relatives in rural areas, hunters can continue hunting. Under the guise of ‘essential activity’, it was allowed to continue with this practice, to carry out hunts or beatings and even to go from one community to another (as in the case of Madrid to Castilla-La Mancha).
“Their activity is not essential, they only try to hide the need to continue maintaining their businesses,” says Zurdo, who explains that “game farms have to sell their animals to the preserves, and the preserves need to hunt to collect for each dead piece. The wheel of the business of killing animals has not stopped in the pandemic. “An economic business carried out not only by the privileged class that practices this activity, but also by all those linked to the hunting sector: arms companies, large landowners, owners hunting grounds, etc. What money do cyclists make when they go through the countryside? What money do runners, walkers, dog walkers, mycology give? It seems that your freedom depends on the money you generate “, states the NAC spokesperson.
Concentrations and virtual demonstration
With all these arguments, the platform once again calls the demonstrations against hunting, although without forgetting that we continue to live in a pandemic. In fact, from NAC they point out that there were almost 40 demonstrations that had been confirmed until last month but have been reduced to about twenty due to the new restriction measures and the prudence of the organizers. For this reason, they encourage any person or group that wants to join to look for their location on the map – in all the Spanish communities and in two European cities: Parma in Italy and Perpignan in France – or to join the demonstration on-line. In the city of Madrid there will be three readings: at the beginning of the demonstration, the NAC activist Marta González will read a poem by the writer Carmen Ibarlucea at the Puerta del Sol; Before the Congress of Deputies, a text will be read by Rafael Doctor and Ruth Toledano, founders of the art and animalism platform Capital Animal; and at the end of the demonstration the activist Virginia Luengo will read the NAC Manifesto at the gates of the City Hall.
The NAC Platform has requested that, given the restrictions caused by Covid-19, this year photos of dogs rescued from hunting be uploaded to social networks, with the tags # NoALaCaza7F #ElNegocioDeLaMuerte and #StopGalgueros.
(The photos that accompany this article have been taken by the artist and photographer Ruth Montiel Arias for her project ‘Bestiae’ on hunting)