Fermin Perez is President of Scooby in Spain. He has led its development from a refuge for stray dogs and cats in a disused ruin, to a purpose-built shelter with running water, electricity and an onsite clinic. Fermin talks to Greyhound Compassion about Scooby’s journey – and the thousands of abused galgos that are saved by Scooby every year.
Greyhound Compassion (GC): Fermin, how did you start with these galgos?
Fermin: Well, I am a science teacher in a secondary school and many years ago, one pupil came to me, not knowing what to do, because his uncle (a galguero) was going to hang his galgo. I was shocked. It was then I went to the pine groves on the outskirts of Medina del Campo and saw with my own eyes the hanging galgo corpses in the trees. I used my camera and blasted the evidence far and wide. This shamed the local galgueros into stopping the hangings. Now, they surrender them to Scooby at the end of the coursing season or they leave them to stray in the streets. We pick them up, often the victims of a car accident by that time.
GC: Have the hangings stopped?
Fermin: They have more or less stopped in Medina del Campo. Occasionally, we come across a galgo corpse in the woods which is always very tragic but rare nowadays. At the end of the last coursing season in 2018 we rescued a pregnant female galgo with deep wounds in her neck (pictured below). She had almost certainly got herself down from a noose, made her way into the village centre before collapsing.
Where are all the injured greyhounds? This is the question many of us are asking. Greyt Exploitations has set up an online petition to ask DEFRA to make it compulsory for the Greyhound Board of Great Britain to publish detailed monthly injury statistics.
At the time of writing, the petition had received 3,724 signatures, but needs another 1,276 to reach the 5,000 target.
Research undertaken by Greyt Exploitations found that at least 40,000 greyhounds have been injured in the past ten years on British tracks. For more than 18,000 greyhounds – many less than two years old – it was to be their last race.
Actors Dame Judi Dench and Ricki Gervais have pledged their support to save galgos in Spain.
A recent article in the Daily Mail (7 January 2015) shows the suffering and torture endured by these beautiful but abused creatures.
The report describes the horror and brutality of the racing industry in Spain, and highlights galgos that have been burned with cigarettes and acid, dumped to die in tunnels and hung from trees.
As members of Greyhound Compassion know, these stories are all too common.
The League Against Cruel Sports (LACS) has published a joint report with GREY2KUSAWorldwide called The state of greyhound racing in Great Britain: A mandate for change.
In response to the Seaham killing field of 2006, the government published the Welfare of Racing Greyhounds Regulations in 2010 as statutory regulations under the Animal Welfare Act (2006).
They are due to be reviewed this year (2015) and this latest report could not have come along at a better time. Greyhound rescue organisations have long concurred that these regulations are limited in scope and that self-regulation has failed.