After three years of prohibition by decree of greyhound racing, animal activists defend results and white mayor wants to regularize them | the daily

“They’re gone!”, is usually heard as soon as the gates of the track are opened so that the horses run meters and meters to be the first and that the bettor achieves a significant sum of money. Something similar, clandestinely, happens with greyhound racing, which was banned three years ago by decree in the second government of Tabaré Vázquez. Unlike the raid, the greyhounds do not have a jockey on them, but they do demand themselves, or they demand them.

The races, broadly speaking, consist of fully exploiting a “natural characteristic” of these animals, which makes them great runners who can reach speeds of up to 60 kilometers per hour. These must go after an artificial lure or “hare”, which they will never reach, until they reach the goal. In most cases these dogs run with a muzzle.

It is very common that due to the speed and excitement with which they engage in the activity, accidents occur and they suffer injuries, injuries and poisoning. In the almost 20 dog tracks that existed – some still exist – there are no anti-doping controls or veterinary control, and the abuse of stimulant substances to make them run faster is frequent.

Three years after the decree that prohibited this type of race, the animalist NGOs consider that the regulations have been “efficient” and that they practically made these competitions that came to “disappear”. in crescendo in the country. This, in part, was due to the ban in Argentina in 2016, under the administration of Mauricio Macri.

The races, which never had a national regularization, “were taking place every weekend in various departments of the country” until 2018, recalled the director of Galgo Libre Uy and spokesperson for the National Coordinator of Animal Protection NGOs, Rita Rodríguez . In dialogue with the daily, pointed out that during this section of the ban it has been possible to identify some clandestine races, but that “they are really minimal” and “of course they do not have the spirit that the races had when there was no legislation.” “Before, they spent all day at these events and now we are talking about races that are express and that in general we find out about and try to follow up on them,” he explained.

As an example, Rodríguez recalled a race in which they participated in November 2020, in the city of Libertad, in San José, and the last one in Sauce, in Canelones, almost two weeks ago. “This was indeed a very large, international event, where galgueros from Argentina, Brazil and also Uruguayans were summoned, but luckily a very good job was done and these races were interrupted,” he said.

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A neighbor, a brother?

After Macri prohibited this type of race, several Argentine galgueros, every other weekend, crossed the General San Martín bridge, between Gualeguaychú and Fray Bentos, with their dogs in a truck so that they could run. In fact, the vast majority of the organizers in Uruguay were Argentines, Rodríguez pointed out. In the neighboring country, the law ruled that if a person is related to racing he can receive a sentence of four months to four years in prison.

“Obviously we were promoting a criminal offense in Argentina, because there you can’t even train the greyhounds, you can’t promote the races either, that is stipulated in their law and we were promoting that by allowing them to come and organize the races in Uruguay,” he said. In that sense, he said that in Río Negro they were regulated for a time, but that it led to a “failure” because it was a “self-regulation” of the galgueros where there was “no type of control”, at least “nothing that was stipulates that it should be done in the countries that are most strongly regulated.”

One of the policies that the dog tracks had was that each organization had the right to expel any person who did not respect the way of working or the failures of the races. Another was that if the galguero did not accept the guarantees that the organizer gave him for “not seeming optimal”, he would not run directly. And it was complemented by the fact that if the dog lost its muzzle in the race, if he was last and if he was injured, hurt or could not run, the sum of money wagered was not returned. According to galgueros consulted by the dailyprior to the decree, between ten and 12 races were run per weekend, although sometimes more and sometimes less.

of misgivings

With the urgent consideration law, the National Institute for Animal Welfare (INBA) was created, which has, among other things, the role of “organizing, directing and coordinating” information and dissemination campaigns for the protection of animals in their lives and well-being and, in particular, with regard to responsible animal ownership. However, animal activists question the little impact it has on the protection of animals.

“For greyhound racing there are no complaints in the INBA. The complaints that exist have been made by us based on information that reaches us,” commented Rodríguez. However, its director, Gastón Cossia, told the daily that complaints do not reach that body due to “mistrust” and that “there is ignorance and flaws in the procedures of the complainants”, since the decree establishes “clearly” that the INBA is the body that must proceed.

Meanwhile, the director of Galgo Libre Uy said that the INBA “is not working as it should today.” In this regard, he maintained that they made a request for access to public information in which the data showed that the institute received more than 2,700 complaints of alleged animal abuse, of which 1,300 are still waiting “to be processed” and another “1,300 and little” were simply “solved with a notice to offenders that they should behave better.” “These data are the ones that do not give us a guarantee to act with them,” she assured.

Unlike what was proposed by the Rural Federation, Rodríguez considered that the director of INBA should not be asked to resign because he is “suitable” in the matter, although they are concerned that he has a role “simply of carrying out orders and not of management, or management.

Cossia was the deputy who presented the first bill to ban greyhound racing in the last legislature; however, in his political group, the National Party (PN), there was no quorum for it to prosper. With Monday’s newspaper, the target considered that Vázquez’s decree is “good”, but that it is a “copy” of his project.

Looking to regularize

The mayor for the PN of San José Gervasio Cedrés presented last month a project in the Departmental Board to regularize greyhound racing. Said proposal had the “unanimity” of the votes of all the political parties so that it could advance in that legislation, but from the Broad Front they confirmed to the daily that “they are not going to go back” and reject this type of proposal. “The issue is to regularize something that has already been shown to worsen circumstances. Unfortunately, this is how drugs have been: we prohibited them and we did not achieve anything, ”he explained to the daily the seat on the reasons for his project.

“We are prohibiting an animal from developing its genesis because it was developed and evolved for something to do what it does. Single [corre] for 20 seconds. That is the part that is not explained well, so there are people who think that they are going to have an hour running the poor creature. You have to have more things to control; the greyhound does not run because it is required and forced because you cannot force it to run”, he justified. In turn, he did not rule out that there is a similar proposal in Parliament to veto the decree and draft a project to regularize the races at the national level.

In addition, Cedrés said that the galgueros expect to be received by the President of the Republic, Luis Lacalle Pou, so that he listens to their proposals. In 2018, the Uruguayan Galgueros Association began to draft a project that consisted of anti-doping, transparency, that the dogs have microchips – otherwise, they would not be able to compete in any track in Uruguay – and, in addition, gave details on how it should be the track for these dogs to run on.

For the white mayor, the dog “runs by instinct” and “does not have a rider on top” as in a horse race, which “forces him with a muzzle to run from here to there.” “They are pique races; it is very difficult to do a two kilometer race because many times they would go off the track. That’s the part they don’t understand,” he added.

Cedrés questioned what is said to be “animal abuse” when animal activists “take photos with animals after being castrated”: “I think: those people who are going to criticize a greyhound race and then come out showing a photo in which they show who castrated 100 animals, didn’t they begin to reason that it is necessary, but that there is no worse animal abuse than when we castrate them the way we castrate them, depriving them of an essence of the part of life, in which humans do not Have we even thought of doing that with the worst rapists in the world? We do it to the animal because he is a simple dog. We do it to him because he has no right, because not even he knows what is going to happen to him and he cannot defend himself, “he lamented. Likewise, they questioned “what the greyhounds would think”, if they prefer to be castrated or run for 20 seconds.

For Rodríguez, Cedrés’ proposal lacks “arguments” and “fundamentals”: “He defends an activity that is clearly clearly contrary to what is expected for a society that is evolving,” he concluded.

Prohibitions advance in the region

As in Uruguay and Argentina, in Brazil the ban is advancing. In the states bordering the country, such as Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina, these races cannot be held. In turn, Rodríguez announced that together with Chilean animal organizations they are working on a similar bill to be approved in that country. The trans-Andean president-elect, Gabriel Boric, assured that it is a campaign commitment to prohibit these practices.