A well-conceived Kickstarter campaign, Where Hunting Dogs Rest aims to bring about the publication of a large art book to draw attention to the plight of Spanish hunting dogs
Photographer Martin Usborne has a Kickstarter campaign with the aim of publishing a large art book to highlight the plight of Spanish hunting dogs. The campaign still has eight days to run, so there’s still time to make your contribution.
The most iconic Spanish hunting dog the Galgo, or Spanish Greyhound, is a tall, regal and powerful creature. There are also other, smaller breeds, such as the Podenco, which is used for hunting in hillier territory.
Spanish hunting dogs have a rich history that dates back to the 12th century when they might have been passed down in a nobleman’s will. Today, they can be found thrown down wells or hung from trees. More often, though, they end up in rescue centres, the victims of a hunting tradition that has taken a cruel, downwards turn.
“It is impossible to calculate the true numbers of dogs suffering,” says Usborne. “Hunting happens in remote regions and the owners ignore microchipping regulations. Experts say 20,000 to 200,000 dogs are abandoned each year. The rescue centre where I worked received up to 90 dogs a day – and that was a single area of the country. It is not hard to multiply these figures out to far more than 30,000 a year.
“Making an art book is perhaps not the most obvious response to this suffering, but it is what I know best. Other people, like those that run the rescue centres where I have been lucky enough to stay, are more dedicated and provide hands on help. A percentage of proceeds from this book and print sales will go to them. But I hope my images might also give a voice to the voiceless and do a bit to raise international awareness, a key ingredient to changing a centuries-long tradition.”
Usborne’s book will not be filled with grim images. “I hope it is full of beauty. I have made a point of not focusing directly on the suffering – it is fairly easy to take pictures of brutality. I wanted to show the majesty without denying the misery. Many of the dogs look nervous, weak or shy. But I hope you see they still possess an innate elegance,” he says.
Where Hunting Dogs Rest is inspired by Diego Velázquez, a Spanish painter and the leading artist in the court of King Philip IV. During his lifetime these dogs were still revered and he was born in an area where the dogs are still used to hunt.
We encourage you to support Usborne’s campaign, and pass it on to others to help raise awareness of the Spanish hunting dogs’ suffering.
Where Hunting Dogs Rest (108pp, 300 x 260mm) will be published in June by German fine art publisher Kehrer Verlag as a cloth-covered hardback with foil embossing. Delivery is expected in July.