It is estimated that 50 000 to 60 000 greyhounds a year are killed in the United Kingdom and Ireland, and more than 30 000 galgos españoles (Spanish greyhounds) are killed in Spain alone.
Most of these dogs are killed before they are two years old if they are not considered suitable for racing.
Those which are picked to race are kept in small cages and let out only for training; if they are injured, they are taken to dogs' homes or sold to laboratories (for experiments) or Asian markets (to be used as meat in restaurants).
Galgos suffer a similar fate; during the hunting season they are kept in the woods, shut up in tiny shacks or in burrows in the ground, without being fed or looked after. At the end of the season they are brutally killed or taken to dogs’ homes, where they are destroyed in any event if they are not claimed within ten days.
1. How can the Commission help to protect the health and welfare of these animals and save them from the cruelty described above?
2. What steps has it taken to implement and add to the European Union Strategy for the Protection and Welfare of Animals 2012-2015, as endorsed by Parliament on 4 July 2012?
The welfare of dogs is not governed by EU rules and this matter remains under the sole competence of the Member States.
Article 13 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union requires in particular the Member States to pay full regard to the welfare requirements of animals in the context of certain Union's policies. Article 13 does not apply to areas where the Union has no legal base to harmonise in the field of animal welfare. Many actions foreseen in the EU Strategy for the Protection and Welfare of Animals 2012-2015 have been achieved. Since 2012, the Commission has made significant efforts to improve enforcement, in particular for animal transport, laying hens, and the group housing of sows. Efforts for better enforcement on animal transport will continue through an ambitious project on best practices (a pilot project of the European Parliament).