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INTERVIEW WITH INES OF PROYECTO GALGO ARGENTINA AFTER THE LAW TO BAN DOG RACING IS PASSED.

We spoke to Ines, the representative for Projecto Galgo Argentina, the day after the law proposal to ban dog racing in the whole of the country was approved by the Chamber of Deputees in the Argentinian Congress.

The deep sense of joy at this hard won victory is still palpable, a victory that was achieved thanks to some extraordinary teamwork, which involved politicians, associations and activists, celebrities from the worlds of show business, art and sport, and many ordinary citizens: all united in this battle for progress with the motto ‘El maltrato y la explotación no se regulan, se prohíben’ (abuse and exploitation should be banned, not regulated).

As well as joy, we can strongly sense in all the activists the awareness that this victory, very important as it is, is not the end of their fight but a vital stage in the journey that will lead to a future in Argentina in which all greyhounds and galgos, and all dogs in general, are fully recognised and respected as sentient beings.

There is so much work awaiting us” repeats Ines, and while talking to us, her mind is also already on the many new challenges and activities awaiting them.

Here are the questions we asked Ines. Please see the bottom of the page for the original text in Spanish.

1. We know that the journey to get the law passed was neither easy nor brief: can you tell us about some of its key moments? The first step was arranging a meeting with the Senators, so that they could hear our case for the first time. To expose the situation, to bring proof that could serve as a guarantee for changing the basis of the law. Once this step had been made and approved by the Senate, the hardest part was overcoming any objections by the Commissions of Deputees, gaining their approval, making ourselves heard and racing against time so that the law proposal’s validity period did not elapse and so that we would not therefore have to start everything all over again from scratch.

2. What do you think made all the difference in realising what initially was just a dream?

A few things. First: working with a team we could depend on, with just a few people who were efficient and united. Over the years we learned a lot. We never stopped, even in moments of crisis. We never gave up. The turning point came when other people joined us. There is nothing more powerful than a popular initiative if it spreads to the whole of society: the demand gets bigger and bigger and it reaches all the media.

3. What are the most important aspects of this law? Which are the ones that will help you the most in the fight against the exploitation and abuse of galgos and greyhounds?

The law has three main aspects: 1. It is included in the National Criminal Code (of Argentina). This means that the provinces don’t have to endorse the law for it to be respected and valid throughout the whole country. 2. It defines dog racing as a criminal offence in a complete way and punishes whomsoever organises, promotes, facilitates or sets up any kind of race with dogs, regardless of breed. 3. The penalties are severe, so that it’s impossible to avoid a prison sentence. In other words: if you break the law, you go to jail.

4. Is there any danger that the approved law proposal might not become effectively law? If so, what are the risks?

There is a possibility that the galgueros will appeal against the law, asking for it to be deemed unconstitutional, claiming the same rights as those pertaining to horse racing. In that case, the final decision will be in the hands of the Supreme Court of Justice.

5. What do you expect the situation of the galgos will be once the law is approved?

Once the law becomes effective, we believe that the galgueros’ business affairs will diminish. A few months ago they stopped investing in greyhound imports.

6. What will be the focus of your work?

We will be focussing mainly on two aims: to ensure that the law is respected in every part of Argentina, with the help of local protection groups, and to create public and private support networks to care for abandoned greyhounds.

At present we have begun working with Chile and Uruguay in order to achieve a ban in the near future in these neighbouring countries too.

7. Many people from around the world are wondering what will become of the greyhounds and galgos that are still in the hands of the galgueros. What can we tell them?

Many greyhounds and galgos will continue to live with the galgueros who will probably use them for hunting, for breeding and for exports. But as I mentioned above, once the law becomes effective we believe the galgueros’ business affairs will diminish: a few months ago they stopped investing in greyhound imports.

8. Is there anything that the international antiracing and anti hunting movement can do to help you?

If you can, please help us by supporting us and sharing what we do, so that there is international awareness about the problems.

9. Can you tell us anything about the situation of galgos and greyhounds in the other Latin American countries?

In Chile and Uruguay greyhounds and galgos are also exploited, ill treated and killed in the racing business, which is linked to gambling and drug trafficking. In these countries too groups of activists are working to obtain welfare legislation that bans both greyhound racing and dog racing in general.

At the moment we are working with Uruguay and Chile to obtain the same legislation we now have in our country. In the other South American countries there is illegal racing, except for Mexico where it is legal, but there is not much business.

Interview by Stefania Traini Translated by Isobel Deeley

The original text in Spanish:

Conocemos a Inés, exponente de Proyecto Galgo Argentina, después de la aprobación de Ley Nacional Penal 27330.

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