Hounding Misery / Summary
January 8, 2012 § Leave a comment
The Misfortune of Being a Spanish Greyhound
Part 1: Gitano
“Contrary to what one would expect, considering these animals’ elegance, noble character and exemplary behavior, for some unfortunate reason, being a greyhound in Spain is nowadays an insurmountable obstacle on the road to happiness…”
“Through one of life’s coincidences, my steps have taken me to sharing living space with a special being that shows, in his every move, the consequences of what has been an obviously prolonged case of overall mistreatment.
His present and recently-given name is Gitano (Gypsy in Spanish), while his original name, just like so many other details that make up his truth, is unknown.”
Part 2: The Business
“After witnessing first-hand the suffering of my new friend Gitano, caused by lax common sense and the lack of rationality of his previous owners, the issue becomes personal – I decide to invest part of my time in developing a complete report about the world of greyhounds in our country, Spain.”
“As I investigate online to understand the apparent lack of laws that could control and avoid at least somewhat these sad facts, I come across various news articles that talk about turnovers of millions of euros through the large array of activities that the greyhound business generates. Through one of life’s causalities, that I so often experience and mention, my search for information on this issue reveals that just a few days later, in the town of Madrigal de las Altas Torres (Avila, Spain), the final of the Spanish Greyhound Field Championship will take place.”
“The owners slowly walk back to the marquee with their precious greyhounds. Their manner towards the animals, from what I can see, is at all times careful and paused. The winner, called Yuma, is carried in like a champion, complimented and photographed over and over. The loser, called Señorita, also receives much attention and consolation – she is obviously exhausted.”
Part 3: In Search of a Greyhound Trainer
“To be honest, I must underline the difficulties gone through to reach this point, and my surprise at the difficulty of doing something as seemingly simple as visiting the installations of a greyhound trainer and photographing their story.”
“Just a few minutes after meeting Eugenio, the look in his eyes and his ways awaken my sincere appreciation. His weather-beaten, dark-skinned face shows a seriousness that soon gives way to an affable warmth and a direct, unassuming and effective ability to communicate.”
“The visit continues and my interest in Eugenio grows as his ingenuity and inventions are revealed to me. While he tells me about his working life and his valuable contributions to the creation of certain industrial artifacts, he shows us some of his recent creations. On the one hand, he unveils a machine aimed at the months during which hunting hares is forbidden until the next season.”
“Secondly, and generously giving in to my request, he presents us with his customized bicycle, created to cover the need that arises due to some training practices being illegal.”
Part 4: One War, a Thousand and One Sides
“I’m fortunate to have the pleasure of connecting with M. Carmen, one of the managers of Las Nieves animal rescue centre. Fans of César Millán and anecdote lovers will like to know that one of the chapters of his series was filmed here last year. Contrary to other contacts, M. Carmen’s first message held the certainty of a meeting, which took place weeks later, much to my appreciation and in benefit of all the people who are interested in this issue.”
“Amongst other things that I find striking, she tells me that they tend to collect the greyhounds directly from the trainers. It seems to me like an intelligent and effective way to operate, since it saves those dogs a lot of suffering and is an efficient way of avoiding other actions against them, or their abandon. “This policy of ours means a lot of people within the animal rescue world are against us”– she explains.
“During the first week of carrying out this report, I witnessed various attempts to rescue greyhounds. In one case, after trying for days, success finally came. It involved a very elusive dark-coloured female greyhound. Nothing is known about her previous life, but it seemed like she had survived being abandoned by a greyhound trainer or hunter. According to the official version that the greyhound collective defends, she would have been thrown out on the streets by thieves following one of many dog thefts that take place.”
“No doubt the hardest moment was when we were alerted of a dead greyhound by the side of a road. We went there and, after a half hour search, came across the dead body of a white greyhoung. This is one of the possible fates that these and other dogs may meet when an owner decides to abandon them, alone and unprotected”.
“In this time, Gitano has slowly recovered his health and his trust, and is now part of our family. Unfortunately, other greyhounds do not enjoy the same good fortune as our faithful friend, which is why a solution to this issue is so necessary.”