BRITISH citizens have long been at the forefront of Spain’s nascent animal rights movement, protesting against what they see as the barbarity of local bullfighting traditions and spearheading localised protests against the treatment of donkeys.
Now the plight of often mistreated hunting dogs has entered the public eye and a group of animal lovers from the UK has created the Podenco Alliance to raise awareness of the situation in Spain.
The alliance has now received the endorsement of British comedy legend Joanna Lumley who has a strong history of supporting various little known causes.
The Absolutely Fabulous star and OBE released a public statement, which read:
“The appalling treatment of Spanish hunting dogs strikes a chill to the heart.”
“It is impossible to believe that a country as sophisticated and fine as Spain could tolerate such unforgivable cruelty to living creatures.”
“I add my name to the many who are calling for this inhumanity to be stopped once and for all.”
The alliance is named after a particular breed of hunting dog known as podencos, and claims that they are frequently killed or simply abandoned when deemed too old or slow to be of any use.
Joining forces with other groups dedicated to highlighting their treatment the Podenco Alliance has staged protests outside the Spanish Embassy in London and also demonstrated in Glasgow and Manchester.
Two stories doing the rounds online suggest that a dog named Toby was shot in the eye and left for dead by his owner, while many are hung from trees after serving their purpose.
Hunting dogs are perceived as difficult to rehome and are also rarely considered as pets, being used specifically for their hunting skills, and therefore denied the compassion afforded other domesticated creatures.
While Ms Lumley lends her celebrity gravitas to the cause, a retired Scottish couple are on the ground doing their but to help abandoned and maltreated podencos.
Irene and Steve Allan have rescued and helped rehabilitate around 60 hunting dogs at their dedicated sanctuary in Orihuela.
Named Hope for Podencos their refuge has performed an invaluable service in finding mistreated podencos homes all across the world in the two years since they moved from the UK.