Animal lovers across Canada take action against dog sledding industry
Animal rights activists in cities across Canada took to the streets this weekend in protest of the country's commercial dog sledding industry and the notoriously inhumane conditions its animals have been documented living in.
People in cities coast-to-coast took part in demonstrations at dog parks, sledding cites and public spaces, demanding legislation be passed to impose stricter rules on the industry, such as banning the common practice of chaining sled dogs outside in their off-time.
Rallies were held on February 22 in Toronto, Calgary, Winnipeg, Banff, Regina, Whistler and Quebec City, among other locales, to mark an official day of action to end the commercial dog sled industry in Canada.
Protesters banned together to educate the public with signs, videos, leaflets and chants.
There has been a growing movement to abolish the commercial sport following the release of behind-the-scenes footage — such as that included in the 2016 documentary Sled Dogs — that shows how dogs are treated at some facilities when not at work.
As has been discovered at the headquarters of multiple dog sledding companies in Canada, animals are often left chained up on very short leads with no enrichment, space to relieve themselves or adequate shelter from the elements.
There are also incidents of adoptable dogs being killed when no longer useful for profit, as we saw after the 2010 Winter Olympics in Whistler.
💔If you wouldn’t let your dog freeze at the end of a chain or kill them because they weren’t fast enough, then you need to watch #SledDogs, a documentary about commercial dog sledding and the deadly Iditarod dog race, on STARZ NOW! pic.twitter.com/SOcU4KzNCs— TheVeganDrakon (@TheVeganDrakon) February 9, 2020
Former employees of sled dog kennels in Canada have cited atrocities such as animals being deliberately underfed, not having access veterinary care, freezing to death overnight and being shot upon showing any indication of illness or injury.
And, as one ex-staffer of Ontario dog sledding company Chocpaw Expeditions told The Dodo, it's all legal, as sled dogs don’t receive the same legal protections afforded to domestic pets — something advocates, like the ones who demonstrated this weekend, are trying to change.
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