Say you run a dogsled tour company. (Not that you’d want to, but let’s pretend.) And say tourism was down and business wasn’t so good, and you realize you don’t need 300 sled dogs anymore. What do you do with the extra dogs? You could rehome them yourself or perhaps turn them over to a reputable no-kill shelter.
Or you could just whip out a gun and start shooting. That was the solution embraced by Vancouver-based company Outdoor Adventures Whistler. According to the Calgary Herald, in what has been described as an “execution-style cull,” over “100 dogs were shot or had their throats cut while tethered after business took a downturn.” The bodies were thrown into a mass grave. The British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is investigating the slaughter, as are local police.
This inhumane action of Outdoor Adventures Whistler became public in a somewhat curious way. According to the Vancouver Sun, “The cull came to light because of a successful WorkSafeBC claim for post-traumatic stress by the employee who killed the dogs over two days last April.”
The employee described such horrors as a dog whose “eye was hanging off, and it was still running around” and another dog was dumped into the grave while still alive. By the end of the slaughter, he was covered in blood. Outdoor Adventures Whistler did not challenge the employee’s claim, and he received compensation for his emotional trauma. (Of course, he could have saved himself the stress and done the right thing by not killing the dogs in the first place, but I suppose he was “just following orders.”)
As horrible as the Outdoor Adventures Whistler bloodbath is, it isn’t as uncommon as one may think. As noted by PETA, sled dogs routinely face being killed “when they become ill, don’t run fast enough, or are simply unwanted.” For example, in 2005, it was revealed that the largest U.S. dogsled company, Krabloonik Kennel in Aspen, Colorado, “was shooting and killing as many as 35 dogs every year.” PETA quotes one Krabloonik employee defending the killings, saying, “This is part of the circle of life for the dog-sled dog.”
The problem isn’t just at Outdoor Adventures Whistler. It’s with the whole dog sledding industry. With the infamous Iditarod race starting in only a few weeks (where dogs are driven so hard that several die on the trail nearly every year), now is the time to take a stand against the savage cruelty of the dog sledding industry. As long as dogs are raced for the amusement of humans, there will be needless deaths of the animal known as “man’s best friend.”
Photo Credit: PETA