Reflecting on dogs, humans and propaganda mush …. By Whitehorse Star on March 1, 2013 at 5:08 pm

Russ Knutson, who hosts the CBC Whitehorse Mid-Day Café show, aired an interview with ex-Quest musher Frank Turner and Whitehorse author John Firth on Feb. 1.

Both Turner and Firth were trying to defend the exploitation of dogs, i.e., as in the Yukon Quest.

Funny (and not so funny) when Mr. Knutson brought up the fact that people have criticized the Quest for being “tough on the dogs or cruel and those kinds of things because there has been a fair amount of that over the years, as one would expect.”

Firth replied, “Like anything, there’s going to be mushers out there that do what those people say they do and that’s just the nature of the beast ….”

Mr. Knutson: Instead of sounding thrilled that “it (the Yukon Quest) started as a good idea over whisky and beer in Alaska,” you should be aware that Firth, in his book Yukon Quest: the 1,000 Mile Dog Race through the Yukon and Alaska, has many examples of inhumane treatment of dogs used as sled dogs in past Quests.

And you wonder why “people have criticized it as tough on the dogs or cruel and those kinds of things,” Knutson?

Turner took on the issue of what “newcomers to the Yukon” might think of the exploiting of dogs (pardon me, using dogs in the Quest).

In fact, he said: “The Quest is, in its own way, part of what defines us, and I really encourage any new people that have recently moved to Whitehorse in the last little while to come out and take a look at this because I think you’ll find it very very worth while.” Propaganda mush!

Mr. Turner should remember that back in 2007, he brought up the fact on the CBC news that dogs are bred and killed/culled as part of the normal process of the mushing/racing industry, including the Quest. And thereafter went hush-hush.

Not everyone is so naive, Mr, Turner. This little tidbit of information does not look good on Turner, who continues to crow about the Quest, nor on the CBC, which can’t deny culling continues (and the Quest organization still doesn’t care that it does).

Remember: you can’t convince this animal rights advocate that using dogs for human desires is something to celebrate.

The Quest will be abolished some day – shut down for good. Then mushers can pull their own damn sleds if they love that so much.

Back to you, Russ Knutson: do you not consider breeding, chaining, injuring, using and killing dogs inhumane? How about exploitative?

Is the CBC there for the benefit of the public? Or is it a media outlet there to help animal use industries like mushing or trapping?

Speaking of trapping, Mr. Knutson: have you had a chance to interview the so-called Yukon conservation (?) officer who received a call in which a dog was caught in a snare?

One of many snares that were put in place by “conservation” officers in order to strangle wolves to death?

Give me a call, if you like, as I can share with you some details on this matter. This question has been publicly asked of you/CBC before.

And when the CBC, as I see it, is done cheerleading for the mushing industry, you may want to ask the new board of directors at the Humane Society Yukon what their position is regarding the use of dogs in the Yukon Quest and sled dog tour business. (Hint, hint.)

And then you can ask the so-called animal welfare officer of the Yukon what exactly the new and improved Animal Protection Act does for non-humans who are used, abused and killed for human desires.

The CBC needs to ask more tough questions.

That’s because I know many Yukon people (and tourists) care about animals. And they deserve to hear the whole story in order to form their own opinions about the welfare of animals.

And neither the media, nor the animal-use industries, should be the ones dictating what the public should or shouldn’t believe with respect to animals.

Mike Grieco