Report Commissioned by the ISPCA on The Greyhound Industry in Spain and the Part Played in it by Irish Greyhounds (1997)
Finbarr Heslin, MVB, MRCVS, Beaufield Veterinary Centre, Celbridge
- The conditions of the tracks
- Holding facilities
- Transport facilities
- And the part played by Irish Greyhounds
The plight of the exported Irish Greyhound in Spain has long been an emotive issue. As far back as October 1991, the governing council of the World Greyhound Racing Federation responded to a request made by Bord Na gCon for an investigation into the alleged cruelty to these Greyhounds in Spain by sending a delegation to Spain to investigate the conditions. This delegation made many recommendations to the Spanish authorities after their inquiry which was fully facilitated by the Federacion Espanol Galguera. Bord Na gCon stated in a news release dated the 26th March 1992 that they had “been informed by the management of the track in Barcelona that the recommendations in the report of the World Greyhound Racing Federation delegates had been implemented in full at the tracks in Valencia and Barcelona. The board has been further advised that the improvements recommended for the track in Palma are in progress but have not been fully implemented to date. Formal assurances have been given by the managements of the tracks in Barcelona and Valencia that in the future:
1. They will accept responsibility for the welfare of all greyhounds raced at those tracks and
2. That under no circumstances will any Greyhounds be sent to race at Palma.”
Despite the findings and recommendations of this initial visitation, many independent observers claimed that the situation in Spain did not improve significantly and there were still questions regarding the welfare of the animals involved in the racing industry in Spain. In response to these worries, the World Greyhound Racing Federation sent two Irish Veterinary Surgeons to Spain in April 1995 whose brief was, firstly, to follow up on the recommendations to the previous 1991 visit, and secondly to make general comment on the current conditions pertaining to the industry in general. This visitation had the full co-operation of the authorities in Spain and they were allowed free access to the tracks, kennelling facilities and transport vans and were accompanied at times by the local Veterinary Surgeon with responsibility to the tracks and racing stock. The report of Messrs. Garrahy and Dromey was published but again, independent observers were at variance with the view of the industry set out in their report. In response to hundreds of complaints from independent sources including visitors to the tracks from Ireland and England, ex-patriots from both countries living in Spain, some Spanish citizens and several informed personnel who have spent considerable time viewing the facilities and working in the kennels and at the tracks, the ISPCA commissioned a report concerning the allegations of welfare abuse in the industry. In light of the new evidence coming out of Spain as regards some of the methods of disposal of the old or injured Greyhounds especially in the Andalucia area and in Castilla y Leon, which I cede are as yet unsubstantiated, but are still alarming, an independent investigation into the conditions of the industry was even more urgent than before.
In response to these alleged problems, the ISPCA delegation made up of Mrs Marion Fitzgibbon, President of the ISPCA, Mr Ciaran O’Donovan, CEO of the ISPCA, Mr Mike Butcher, Chief Inspector with the Special Operations Unit of the RSPCA and Mr Finbarr Heslin, MVB, Independent Consultant Veterinary Surgeon retained by the ISPCA, spent five days visiting Barcelona and Palma 16th to the 20th of October 1997, investigating the industry. The visitation was on the basis of a request from Mr Manual Vilar, a director of the company which operates two tracks in Barcelona and President of the WGRF to the President of the ISPCA to visit the facilities.
However, the full co-operation of the Spanish authorities which had been promised to Mrs Fitzgibbon was not to be seen when the authorities saw the make-up of the delegation, and it was pointed out that the invitation had been just to Mrs Fitzgibbon and not to the rest of the delegation. In the light of the comparison of the reports written by those who were given the full co-operation of the Spanish Authorities and what this visitation saw, it was a blessing that we received no help or facilitation from the authorities, as we were able to view for ourselves the un-sanitised version of the industry. I would agree with the summing up of Mrs B A Finch, BA, RGN, where she stated that “the only way to assess the Spanish tracks and kennels is to make unannounced visits and talk patiently and privately to owners and trainers”. In this respect, I would like to take this opportunity of registering my gratitude to the ISPCA to Mr Mike Butcher, for all his help and expertise which was fully utilised during the trip. I would also like to thank the various contacts in Spain without whom the visitation would not have been possible. It must be understood that these people are genuinely interested in the welfare of the Greyhounds and are working toward the goal of improved standards for the Greyhounds. The people we were in contact with have a deep feeling about this problem and are not radical extremists with other hidden agendas.
I would firstly like to state that, despite all of what we saw in the line of abuses of welfare and failures to comply with regulations and previous report recommendations, we did not see any case of intentionally cruelty and any problems which we came across seem to be as a result of an inordinately high level of ignorance of standards of care, housing, health, nutrition and husbandry.
During the first part of the visitation, during our stay in Barcelona, 16th to the 18th of October, we managed to visit the tracks at Meridina and Pabellon, the holding facilities at both and at about 5.00pm on Friday the 17th October, the major holding kennels at Santa Coloma. On Sunday the 19th of October, we left Barcelona for Mallorca where we visited the track at Palma and the holding kennels located fifteen kilometres outside Palma, outside Santa Maria. I must reiterate that these inspections were carried out unbeknownst to the authorities and to those working at these facilities, and as such, I would think that we saw much more accurate picture of the routine day to day happenings at these facilities and not the sanitised version of events which could have been experienced were the authorities to have known of our arrival previously. In light of the previous two reports written after visits to these facilities, I was amazed to find conditions as they were.
The first area to be visited was the housing facilities at Santa Coloma. I achieved entry into the facility with the aid of one of our Spanish contacts and had several conversations as regards husbandry, health and welfare of the animals and an insight into the general running of the whole racing system in Spain. At this complex nearly one thousand dogs are kennelled, and in most cases this is done in very poor conditions. Again, there was no evidence of intentional cruelty to any of the dogs kept here, but the standards of kennelling I saw was seriously inferior to that reported in the previous reports and some of the recommendations of the previous reports have never been implemented. We then inspected the tracks at Meridiana and Pabellon, with their holding kennels before proceeding to Mallorca. Some of these problems are outlined below:
1) In the 1991 report, the first recommendation was that all Greyhounds be kennelled at the Santa Coloma Complex. They reported on the appalling conditions at the San Andreu kennels and yet I was told by one of the trainers that in the region of one hundred dogs are still kennelled there. With the attitude of those working there being that San Andreu was so much worse than Santa Coloma, and in light of what we saw at Santa Coloma, San Andreu must be in a desperate state.
2) In the 1991 report, they recommended that an official be appointed to inspect and maintain minimum standards. Again, this has not been done. The presence of vets at some of the races does occur, but very infrequently and these vets are military vets. Out of loyalty to the dogs, the owners and trainers tend not to bring them to these vets as they are of the opinion that the vets’ knowledge of Greyhounds is limited. There certainly is no evidence of the implementation of the finding of previous reports as regards the minimum standards for kennelling, time spent at the track, health for racing, lay-off periods for bitches in heat and post racing inspection. If these standards are in place, there is certainly no evidence of their being implemented, or of the existence of anybody capable of implementing them. The so-called track vet at Palma rarely visits the facility except when there are visitations from abroad.
3) In the 1991 report, they recommended that all racing kennels be air-conditioned. Some of the newer kennelling blocks at Santa Coloma are air-conditioned, but some have only ventilation fans which are inadequate during times of high temperatures. Some of the kennels at Pabellon certainly need to be improved as regards environmental conditions.
4) In the 1991 report, they recommended that bedding be provided for the racing paddock. At no stage during the visit did I see bedding in the kennels, in the transport vans or at the tracks. One trainer said that the bedding is only put in for foreign visitations and removed afterwards.
5) In the 1991 report, it was recommended that the time Greyhounds are kennelled for races be reduced. Again, this seems to have been ignored with many animals spending protracted periods at the tracks. Times of up to six or eight hours at the tracks were not uncommon during our trip. The report of 1995 stated that “maximum times at the track before racing for all is less than one hour”. I cannot agree with this on the basis of what we saw. Some dogs were there for up to five hours before and several hours after their race. This is despite the fact that the 1991 report sought that “the FEG establish a maximum time that any Greyhound may be kennelled at the track prior to the commencement of racing.” If this has been implemented, we saw no sign of it and likewise we saw no sign of any personnel checking it.
6) In the 1991 report it stated that the authors were “concerned to see that bitches continued to race during oestrus”. In the 1995 report it stated that “bitches in oestus are laid off for three weeks only. They come back at the bottom grade and race less frequently and over shorter distances. The system is used at all Spanish tracks. It seems to work. There is no appreciable rise in injuries to advise otherwise.” I would have to disagree with this. During our visit, we was several bitches in heat which were due to race that day, others in heat were at the track racing and still more who had raced the previous day. There is widespread ignorance as regards the oestrus cycle of the dog and few kennel men seem to know about the fact that bitches should not be run during it. There were some dogs even who were in heat and were running in higher grades than the lowest one, and there certainly was no evidence that they ran less frequently than the other dogs. In the 1995 report it states in its response to the 1991 report that the Spanish experience with the regime is working and this fact must be respected. It is hard to understand if this report is condoning the racing of bitches who have been rested for three weeks as I’m sure the authorities showed the authors of the 1995 report, but there is no doubt in my mind that bitches are raced regardless of the time of their reproductive cycle. This visitation saw this as common practice.
7) The standard of kennelling in some of the holding facilities was poor. Some dogs were housed in kennels with blocked off doors so that they could not see out and as a result spent most of their time crouched down with their nose pushed under the door trying to see out through the gap. I find these kennels absolutely reprehensible. It is also in breach of the recommendation of the 1995 report where it recommended “that Greyhounds housed at the kennel complexes should have an external view from their kennels at eye level”. Some of the kennels which we have seen pictures of in the past which were about three foot wide actually held three dogs which is in serious breach of welfare and can only result in increased levels of fighting. During the visit, some of the smaller cages which are only about fifteen to eighteen inches in width, actually contained two dogs. This is completely unacceptable as it is impossible for the dogs to turn around or lie down comfortably. In some cages only one animal could lie down at a time as the surface area was only sufficient for this. The other dog had to stay standing or lean against the wall to rest. As I said previously, there was absolutely no evidence of any bedding in any of the complexes seen. In Palma we saw the cages with split level floors where half the kennel was covered with an elevated pallet. This makes it extremely uncomfortable for the dogs to rest easily. It also is responsible for some of the injuries such as the heamatomas which will be described later. There are some of the complexes which have higher levels of husbandry than most, and where the trainers seem to have higher levels of knowledge of the industry. We were informed that these kennels are the ones viewed by visiting delegations (other than ours) and that these visitations usually take place around twelve o’clock mid-day, when the other kennels are closed as the dogs from these kennels have gone to the tracks for that days’ racing.
8) In the 1991 report, under the heading of General Recommendations, it states that “the FEG sponsor basic veterinary symposiums for kennel personnel”. The 1995 report stated that “they have started the educational symposia. The first was held in November 1994”. From conversations with personnel directly involved with the industry there seems to have been no major improvement in the standards of knowledge pertaining to the dogs. There certainly is an interest on the part of the trainers for more information but it does not seem to be forthcoming. This is one of the major causative factors of a lot of the problems as most seem to be as a result of ignorance and not just a result of treating the animals as racing machines which should perform regularly. A major problem in my view is that there is little or no incentive for these dogs to perform. The vast majority of income comes from their ability to race frequently. All animals who compete in a race get prize money. You can call it appearance money, but the difference in money for a dog who wins and that of the dog who comes sixth is quite small. As a result, the main emphasis is on getting the dog to the track as often as possible and the condition of the dog is of secondary importance as there is not enough financial incentive for the trainer to try to win the race by ensuring his dog is as fit as possible. Many of the dogs we viewed were racing for the third time in a week. This has its own problems especially as it does not give the Greyhound time to recover from any slight injury before the next race. This, coupled with the severity of some of the bends at the tracks leads to a major problem of right tarsus and right carpus injuries and arthritis, something which will be discussed later.
9) The 1991 report made a general recommendation that “the FEG look into establishing a Greyhound Adoption Programme”. In the 1995 report it stated that “an adoption programme is not necessary at the moment”. In the light of the fact that one hundred percent of the Greyhounds that we saw race at the three tracks were Irish, coupled with the fact that there seems to be a high turnover of Greyhounds with a general acceptance in the industry that it is easier to obtain a Greyhound from Ireland than to breed one in Spain or even to attempt to cure a diseased one, I cannot agree with this. There is little evidence of any programme of the breeding of Spanish Greyhounds and during the visit the number of Spanish dogs we saw could be counted on one’s fingers. This along with the relatively high turnover of dogs ensures a constant market for the export of Irish Greyhounds who do not make the grade in Ireland. There seems to be little interest in what exactly happens to all these dogs after their racing career. I think it is incumbent on those involved in this industry to ensure that old Greyhounds are adopted out and are closely monitored. We have seen the manner in which some of the Greyhounds have been hanged in some areas of Spain, and while there is no evidence to say that these are Irish, it should be fair to say that in light of the enormously high percentage of Irish Greyhounds racing in the county, this must be the fate of some of them. Likewise, the widespread use of Anectine intramuscularly as a method of euthanasia is a fate that awaits many of the dogs, and certainly it is widely used in the Santa Coloma complex. The use of this curare-like substance is not acceptable in my opinion. It paralyses muscular activity so stops breathing. It does not however, have any dissociative or sedative effect on cerebral function and as a result the dog is fully aware until, due to lack of blood to the brain, cerebral function ceases. An investigation into what exactly happens to all the Irish Greyhounds whose days racing are finished would be needed before one could comment further, but there is little evidence to show that they are better cared for than those racing. The whole area of euthanasia of the aged and injured Greyhound also needs further investigation.
10) The 1991 report stated that there was a need for a Welfare Charter for Greyhounds and asked the EEC to adopt its regulations requiring countries which permit pari-mutuel wagering on Greyhounds to have a recognised governing authority for the supervision and control of the sport and the welfare of the Greyhound. It also stated that the WGRF was “in the process of drafting a Welfare Charter for Greyhounds and to seek the support of the EEC in this respect.” Where is this Charter and if, six years after this initial report it still isn’t in effect, how much longer will it be before it appears?
11) The area of substance abuse is also alarming. Some trainers are of the opinion that proper nutrition, training and good health can be substituted by the administration of substances such as amphetamines, caffeine, corticosteriods, anabolic steriods, non-steriodal drugs such as aspirin and phenylbutazolidone and in the case of the big races such as the Derby, cocaine. Even in cases where the administration of these drugs is indicated such as in acute lameness, where steriodal injections can decrease the inflammatory response in a joint, this is done without any knowledge of pharmacokinetics, dosage and length of treatment for the individual drug. In some cases one injection is given, and if the dog goes sound, it is subsequently raced the following day. This uncontrolled use of pharmacological substances is also contributing to some of the health problems which will be discussed later.
12) The area of the general health of some of the Greyhounds who are raced is also a matter for concern. Many of the dogs we saw were in good physical condition and the nutrition seems adequate, even though one of the kennels at Santa Coloma had no meat when I was there. Some dogs are in poor condition however, with a much smaller muscle mass than is to be expected, dull coats, sores under their pressure points and many seem disinterested in their surroundings. In addition, there do seem to be some disease problems in the kennels and this applies to Palma as well.
a) I would not agree that the animals are routinely vaccinated. There seems to be no knowledge of vaccines being administered to the dogs. Likewise I could not agree that the dogs were parasite free. There was no evidence to be seen to support the claim that a routine worming programme is in place as there was evidence of both external and internal parasites. Although it was October at the time of our visit, it was still quite warm and there was still evidence of ticks on the animals and tick abscesses where the tick had been removed. Likewise I would have to say that no gastrointestinal parasite control programme was in evidence and most of the dogs viewed had extremely loose faeces (which were not regularly cleaned up and removed as previously reported) and some even had signs of tenesmus. In some kennels there were reports of Coccidiosis. I would hasten to add that no laboratory proof of any of these allegations are available to me, but on general physical examination, I would have little problem in agreeing that this is the case.
b) There was a high level of conjunctivitis in the dogs, in some cases quite purulent. This is as a direct result of their eyes not being washed out after the races. We observed the dogs being taken from the race track directly back to their holding facility on the track and then on to the kennels without feet or eyes being washed clean of sand. In Palma some of the dogs were bathed but this is the exception, as it is usually only done if the owner himself does it. This had also led to a lot of interdigital irritation and the resultant dermatitis.
c) There was also a huge level of alopecia compared to what was previously reported. In many of these cases this could be put down to the stress of racing so frequently, but there was also evidence of urine scalding causing some cases of this alopecia. This must be due to the unhygienic conditions in which the animals are expected to sleep. Again, little notice was taken of these dogs and there seemed to be a high level of ignorance as to the possible causes and the possible cures for this.
d) A large number of dogs had bursitis at the elbow joint, hygromas at the elbow and hocks and haematomas at the sternum. Again there are an indicator of poor bedding with these bony prominences lying directly on cold hard concrete with no bedding to protect them. Some of these were showing signs of infection. The sternal haematomas which are very unusual in the general dog population, were fairly common in these Greyhounds. They were certainly chronic in nature and an indicator of prolonged uncomfortable sleeping conditions. Some of these were several inches in length and quite pendulous. The skin was quite consolidated indicating the chronicity of the problem.
e) I have read veterinary reports on some of these dogs which were re-homed from these facilities, where there was a high level of Leishmaniasis reported. There also seems to be a problem with Babesiosis, (goes with the tick problem) and Ehrlichiosis (likewise). These diseases are hard to detect without laboratory tests and in general all that the trainer sees is progressive decreases in racing ability, which usually results in the animal being euthanased. In some of these cases the concurrent administration of steriods must be implicated as a causative factor in the development and progression of the disease.
f) The level of osteoarthritis has been mentioned in previous reports. Again I have read the reports of veterinary examinations of some re-homed animals as regards the level of arthritis. I also had first hand experience of examining some of those racing during the visitation and palpating some dogs which had raced the previous day. The 1995 report stated that “there was an increased incidence of osteoarthritis in the carpus and tarsus in older dogs and particularly on the right side”. It stated that, “some of the suggested causes of the arthritis were the acuteness of the bends coupled with inadequate after-care once the injury first occurs. The racing life of Greyhounds could be usefully extended with appropriate advice/treatment.” It also recommended some suggestions that might be helpful. These included:
- “All Greyhounds two and a half years and over be examined for arthritis every 4-6 months.”
- “All arthritic Greyhounds to be graded/scored into levels of damage. Severely arthritic Greyhounds should be retired. An advisory training/treatment programme should be designed to help bring Greyhounds less severely affected back to racing fitness.”
- “Greyhounds diagnosed with arthritis, especially if active should be helped if resources permit with specific intra-articular preparations. Alternatively – rest and back slowly – but only race once every two weeks at most.”
I would acknowledge that these recommendations would improve the situation no end, but there is no infrastructure whatsoever in place to facilitate any of these measures and as a result of the failure to implement these and other measures, the problem of arthritis is widespread. I would assume that, having seen the severity of the problem and the ability of some of these affected dogs to perform well while racing, that masking drugs are being used to get the dogs back racing as soon as possible. The innate drive of the Greyhound to run after the lure can only account for so much ability to overcome pain. This would certainly increase the incidence of chronic arthritis to the levels that were prevalent during our visit. The lay-off periods for injured dogs is not sufficient, nor is the knowledge of the disease process and its treatment. Routinely, dogs are raced over 150 times a year which exacerbates any slight injuries as there is little or no time for the animal’s joints to recover from any slight wear and tear. This is again, directly attributable to the fact that appearance money and not winning money, leads the trainers, who we found had almost absolute power to say whether a dog raced or not, to get their dogs to the tracks as often as possible. There was a very high level of very heavily bandaged joints in some of the dogs racing, especially in the lower grades but even some in the top grades. It was quite obvious to the naked eye that some of these dogs were not fit to race and that participation in such races with the tightness of the bends would do little to allow for the healing of the existing injury and was probably predisposing the animal to further injury.
g) Some on the dogs examined and viewed had excessively long nails adding to the problems of potential pedal traumas and other orthopaedic injuries. There seems to be absolutely no control of the nails despite a recommendation in the 1995 report that “nails and teeth on many dogs need to be monitored more closely and appropriate advice given.”
During the racing of well over 200 animals during our visit, the most a dog was checked for was that her jacket and muzzle fitted. There was no checking by qualified personnel who may be able to detect illness or injury and in fact, contrary to what was reported previously that the Racing Manager determines whether an animal races or not, we found very little evidence to suggest that the animals are checked at all. In Palma the individual who was checking the dogs was a teenager.
h) In the 1995 report it stated that “coloured (blue) would dressing sprays, used continually, retards healing in open wounds.” This practice is still widespread.
i) The general foot care viewed during this visit was very poor and accounted for the many pedal problems viewed in the kennels. As mentioned previously, there was no routine bathing of feet after the racing; sand was not removed from the traps after the race; the track was infrequently harrowed, except at Palma; and little or no attention was paid to the maintenance of interdigital cleanliness. Stones were to be found at the tracks as well.
j) There is also an incidence of muscular problems which is to be expected in this sport but is worrying because of the lack of knowledge among the trainers as to the causes and treatments of the various injuries. This is basically due to the enormous load which is put on the joints and muscles especially on the right side as a result of the extremely tight bends at some of the tracks, especially Pabellon. If the load exceeds the safe biomechanical load, these injuries occur.
13) The area of transportation to and from the tracks: some of the cages we saw in the transportation vans at Barcelona were quite narrow with no bedding. The air-conditioning in these needs to be looked at as there were many reports of deaths in these vans due to high temperatures in the summer. During the traffic jams of the summer, the dogs can be in these transport vans in quite stifling heat for protracted periods of time. It must be remembered that these dogs in the vast majority of cases Irish and are given little time to adjust to the much more severe climatic conditions that they are expected to live, travel and race in. The method of transportation of about thirty dogs in the back of a transit van in Palma, with no individual cages and no ventilation other than leaving the side windows slightly open is another area for concern on two fronts; firstly the lack of ventilation and secondly the possibility of fighting.
14) The lack of proper training is also worrying. The average day for a Greyhound who is not racing consists of a least twenty one hours, and quite often up to twenty three and half hours in the cage. Depending on the trainer and the kennel, the length of time the dogs are let out into the paddock can be as short as three periods of twenty minutes a day to three hours a day.
15) There seems to be no warm-up period for the dogs who are racing other than the short walk from the holding kennels at the track to the traps. Some of the dogs at Palma which we saw were allowed out into the paddock for about five to ten minutes before transfer to the track. Others in Barcelona got less warm up. This lack of proper warm-up coupled with the lack of proper training is also contributing to the problems of injuries and arthritis.
16) Control and supervision of the dogs is also sub-standard. There simple are too many dogs per kennel person. This accounts for the lack of service to the dogs. Were there to be an increase in personnel, the dogs could hope to be better cared for. The personnel simply do not have the time to do the job properly.
17) Another question which needs to be addressed is the manner in which the dogs are exported. There were reports of dogs arriving in very poor physical condition after very long journeys with no stops and little or no water and food. In some cases these dogs have come directly from Ireland and may be travelling for some days.
It is not within the remit of this report to make recommendations other than to say that the whole industry should be investigated further. I have little doubt that the view expressed by previous delegations was what they were shown. However, I would have to say that what this visitation saw was very different, and needs immediate addressing and redressing. The physical state of some of the animals in Palma bore all the traces of being the left-overs from Barcelona. These dogs were in the worst state of those that we saw. Even at the higher racing grades, many of the dogs simply wouldn’t make a grade for racing were their welfare to be taken into account.
The whole industry in Spain seems to be in need of an overhaul. There is little evidence of any breeding and there is an over-reliance on the importation of Irish dogs. There is little evidence, even in some cases none, of an acceptable level of knowledge of the various husbandry, health and welfare requirements of the dogs. The individual trainers cannot really be blamed for this failing. Structures need to be implemented to take the decision of whether a dog races or not, away from the trainer who has a vested interest in getting his dogs to the track as often as possible. Structures also need to be implemented to ensure that some form of health checks are carried out to ensure that animals with injuries or diseases are given a reasonable rest period to recover before racing again. Changes also need to be made to make it more of an incentive to win a race and not just compete. This would lead to more dogs being fed better, trained better and kept to a higher standard.
Above all there needs to be an effort made to educate those directly involved in the industry and who have a responsibility to the dogs. Greater emphasis on the various health problems, arthritis, feeding, transport, kennelling and general welfare is definitely needed. There seems to be an interest on the ground level to improve their own knowledge but this needs to be met with some structures from the authorities to facilitate some form of education.
Changes are needed higher up the organisations that run the industry to change the mechanics of the sport. Their obvious failure to implement the previous reports’ recommendations and their efforts to impress a false picture of the day-to-day running of the industry to the official visitations in the past, lead this author to think that any recommendations made in this report would be similarly ignored.
Pressure should be placed from higher levels in the International Racing Federations, other welfare societies, European bodies and individuals to change the mechanisms of the industry.
Likewise, having viewed what we viewed, I can understand the complaints that the various sectors of the public have about the situation.
These seem to me to be genuine problems which need to be addressed and not just swept under the carpet for future visits to walk over, with the aid of the Spanish authorities facilitating an impressive report on the running of the industry according to how they want the outside world to view it, and not on how it really is.