Every year, in our Spanish neighbours, 50,000 greyhounds are used for hunting, tortured, abandoned and killed in the name of a barbaric custom perpetrated by hunters. Carcassonne videographer Rémi Pagès went there to point out their living conditions. But also to highlight the work done by associations to get greyhounds out of this hell.
“In Spain, greyhounds are not seen as pets but as tools, objects.” Bred intensively to participate in hunting competitions, these dogs are subject to drastic selection synonymous with abuse and abandonment. To make known the sad fate reserved for these animals, the Carcassonnais Rémi Pagès made a documentary of it: Galgos: from stone to diamond. With his acolytes Étienne Da Cruz (director and screenwriter) and Evan Savy (cameraman), the young 23-year-old videographer went to a refuge near Cuidad Real, the capital of the homonymous province.
“The animal cause is a subject to which we are very sensitive. To bring our stone to the building, each year, we choose an association to highlight through what we know how to do: images. It’s our way to engage us.” In 2020, Rémi and Étienne – who owns a greyhound – get in touch with the Toulouse association ”Galgos sans famille”, aiming to save greyhounds from hell by finding them a family in France. These dogs are born in the context of industrial breeding. They are trained to participate in specific hunting competitions, intended for greyhounds. The latter, released by two in a vast field, team up in order to track and chase a hare. “Breeders train them by tying them fifty behind quads and running them for hours. Whereas a sighthound is not made to run fast over time. This is torture. These animals wear out very quickly. Greyhounds are excluded from the category of sentient beings”, he continues.
In April 2021, the film crew spends five days in the Spanish refuge. Refuge which works closely with the Toulouse association. Five days during which the three young men discover the painful condition of the dogs “saved in time”. “When the volunteers learn that harm is going to be done to a greyhound, they try to go and save it in secret. To bring it back to the shelter, a place kept secret. On the spot, we witnessed a real vision of horror. We have seen dogs with gouged out eyes, swollen paws, painfully details Rémi Pagès. What’s more, the refuge could not be more basic. In Spain, there are no subsidies for shelters. It works on donations. They do what they can…”
If at the beginning, it was agreed to make this expedition a documentary of about five minutes, the videographers quickly realize that this will not be enough. “We had so much material that we decided to make a 30-minute documentary that the association will be able to broadcast on its site and its networks. If the film is purchased by television, all profits will be donated to the Toulouse association. .”