Monday, January 31, 2011

Very Disturbing News for Dog (and Animal) Lovers

This morning Vancouver radio station CKNW broke a truly horrific story about a preventable tragedy at Outdoor Adventures Whistler. They promote themselves as the largest dogsled operator in North America yet they now face criminal charges of animal cruelty after an employee was ordered to kill 100 of their dogs. The SPCA have previously investigated their treatment of their 200-300 dogs confined in small spaces on short chains.

Normally I prefer to live and let live no matter how much my viewpoint varies from anyone else's but when it comes to the maltreatment of animals I find it hard to stay off the soapbox.

Citing a downturn in business following the 2010 Olympics, the company made the decision to cull their Husky dogsled team. The dogs were shot or had their throats slit and were then thrown into a mass grave. Some of them were still alive. At least one dog was described as crawling out of the grave.

The story came to light when the employee ordered to kill and throw the dogs into the grave sought compensation for Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. I don't doubt that his claim was legitimate but I hope to never be so desperately in need of employment that I would follow such orders.

I am not specifically calling for a boycott of such activities but hope to provide information for those seeking such adventures and suggest considering the treatment of animals in such activities. For this reason I am also ambivalent about zoos. Access to wild animals when I was young fostered my love of animals I would not have seen, heard and smelled myself anywhere but at the zoo. It made me aware of endangered and extinct species and what humans can do to aid in the preservation of the animals and their habitats.

Most cities offer appealing horse drawn carriage rides but I often see sadness--real or imagined--in the horses eyes and can't bring myself to hire them.

I am not a vegetarian but have raised poultry and understand that an animal destined for the table can be raised with respect and kindness, even in death. Some people I know do not even buy meat with bones in it. They are quite content remaining ignorant of the reality concerning the origin of their food. I believe it would be life changing for every meat eater to participate in the slaughter of a single animal. They might more fully understand why we gain our humanity in the way we treat animals.

Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole. ~ Roger Caras

You think dogs will not be in heaven? I tell you, they will be there long before any of us. ~ Robert Louis Stevenson

We must fight against the spirit of unconscious cruelty with which we treat the animals. Animals suffer as much as we do. True humanity does not allow us to impose such sufferings on them. It is our duty to make the whole world recognize it. Until we extend our circle of compassion to all living things, humanity will not find peace. ~ Dr. Albert Schweitzer - 1952 Nobel Peace Prize recipient

♥ It is man's sympathy with all creatures that first makes him truly a man.~ Dr. Albert Schweitzer - 1952 Nobel Peace Prize recipient

♥ Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened. ~ Anatole France

♥ Compassion for animals is intimately connected with goodness of character; and it may be confidently asserted that he who is cruel to animals cannot be a good man. ~ Arthur Schopenhauer

Man is the only creature that consumes without producing. He does not give milk, he does not lay eggs, he is too weak to pull the plough, he cannot run fast enough to catch rabbits. Yet he is lord of all the animals. ~ George Orwell, Animal Farm

♥ There are too many people and too few human beings. ~ Robert Zend

♥ The squirrel that you kill in jest, dies in earnest. ~ Henry David Thoreau

♥ Zoo: An excellent place to study the habits of human beings. ~ Evan Esar


  1. I saw this story from another friend on my News Feed this morning... and was disgusted then too! I can't imagine what went through their heads! If they can't keep them, at least give them a CHANCE to a life with someone else. And if some are left over, then go to the SPCA if necessary! Fer Gawd's Sake!

  2. That is sickening; those poor creatures!
    "The measure of a civilisation is how it treats its weakest members." So-called 'civilised' countries are not, if they let animals be treated in such ways. Yet another reason humans - with some exceptions - are my least favourite inhabitants of this planet.

  3. Amber, I really look forward to hearing more facts of this case, especially whether or not they made an effort to find homes for any of the dogs. It would have been a logistic nightmare but if one expects to profit from the use of animals one must treat them with decency.

  4. Donna, this story has spread around the world and the company has halted all dogsled outings. That is the least they could do! I agree, that animals are far preferable to humans in so many aspects!