IMG_148‘Man wants answers behind skull inserted in his mailbox’ Whitehorse Daily Star – February 6, 2007

Story by Star Reporter Chuck Tobin

A local anti-trapping lobbyist who found a bleached wolf skull in his mail box is still waiting for an explanation from whoever delivered the insult.

“He has to explain himself,” Mike Grieco insisted in an interview last week. “I know it was not a gift.”

“What was his real intention? Was it some sort of threat?”

Grieco filed a complaint with the RCMP after finding the skull in his mailbox.

The skull was left in the mailbox at Grieco’s Whitehorse home in mid-January. It was accompanied by a permit issued under the Wildlife Act authorizing trapper Frank Johnstone of Teslin to give away one bleached wolf skull as a gift.

Johnstone is declining comment on the wolf skull, though he and Grieco have exchanged heated opinions recently in letters published in the Star’s opinion pages.

Grieco is staunchly opposed to trapping as cruel and inhumane, and entirely unnecessary in modern times.

Johnstone staunchly defends trapping as a legitimate and humanely acceptable means of managing and utilizing furbearers, a renewable resource.

Grieco said the skull was more of an insult to the wolf than it was to him, and he’s not sure what to do with it now.

“I do not want to exploit it,” he said.

“Most of these animals were killed without sensitivity and I do not think they should be used for pen holders or something.”

And now for a poem!

The following poem was published in a regular opinion column (‘Ramblings’) in the Yukon News on October 17, 2007 by Mr. Doug Bell (using the pen name ‘ Hugh Conner’ – Yukoner), retired publisher of the Yukon News in Whitehorse. Mr. Bell was apparently offended by the few vocal animal rights people who speak up on behalf of Yukon animals.

Yukoners need to hunt, trap, and mush dogs or they are not very happy campers. It should be noted that Mr. Bell, when he was a newspaper publisher, apparently never had any of his reporters do their due diligence in investigating animal cruelty affecting sled dogs, in particular the Yukon Quest dogs who have suffered and died in the 25 years the disgraceful race has been staged. Is it any wonder why some of us are somewhat embarrassed to live in the Yukon? Thanks for the poem, Hugh!

‘The New Law of the Yukon’

This is the New Law of the Yukon

And Cheechako’s have made it plain

Send me your foolish and feeble

Send me your weak and insane

 

Weak are the pampered and serviced

Insane for the need to reform

The pioneer people who built me

Force them to comply with the norm

 

Swift as a panther in triumph

The newcomers pounce on their prey!

Helpless the pioneers cower

To their misguided and bullying way

 

No smoking, no mushing, no fishing!

No driving, no fun and no say

About what is acceptable action

Or lifestyle or freedom today

 

No respect for those who have suffered

To build them this home in the North

My doors have been opened to people

Proclaiming my laws have no worth!

 

These newcomers claim we are evil

Mindless and cruel and mean

For protecting our claim as a people

Not ruled by the Southern regime

 

No eating of meat, no forestry

No seeking of Klondike Gold,

The thought police are coming

For us to force us to do as we’re told!

 

My heart is broken to pieces

As the newcomers squabble and fight

They pave over my golden hist’ry

With social correctness and spite

 

My Sourdoughs’ struggles have ended

As they are now harried and gray

Too tired to battle these morons

Who feel that they know the right way

 

It is said that we won’t go to meetings

But we are busy attending our works

‘Cause what is the point of opinion

When your home is invaded by jerks?

‘Hugh Conner’ (with apologies to Robert Service)

http://whitehorsestar.com/archive/story/farmer-tells-court-he-meant-no-harm/

YUKON QUEST CAMPAIGN (Developed by the Yukon Quest)

Goal:

Successfully market the annual sled dog race as an icon event to a global audience.

Objectives:

-Increase the number of participants in the 2006 Yukon Quest.

– Generate at least $50,000 in equivalent advertising value through an international media relations program.

– Increase the sponsorship by 20 per cent.

– Increase the total prize purse by at least 30 per cent by 2007.

Tactics:

[Consumer]

Develop and promote the Yukon Quest brand.

– Secure and expand Yukon Quest intellectual property globally.

– Increase year-round Yukon Quest presence locally and internationally.

– Produce and/or promote Yukon Quest branded information, merchandise and third party products.

– Develop and increase supporter affinity to benefit Yukon Quest and Official Sponsors.

[Media]

Achieve increased awareness through an active Yukon Quest Media Program

– Provide high-quality information and services for media throughout the year.

– Utilize media distribution services to expand reach of Yukon Quest messages.

– Improve pre-race media solicitation and education to achieve maximum race-time coverage.

– Enhance Yukon Quest web site and promotions to increase visitation, visitor retention and engagement.

– Begin process to achieve heritage designation for the Yukon Quest Trail Partnerships.

– Increase revenues through improved sponsorship solicitation and recognition:

– Develop research-based, professional-quality sponsorship solicitation plan and materials.

– Increase sponsorship benefits value through improved media exposure, VIP opportunities and

year-round Yukon Quest presence.

– Actively solicit targeted, long-term potential sponsors

 Performance Measures:

– Number of race participants

– Equivalent advertising value of media coverage

– Level of sponsorship

– Level of purse

Source:

Tourism Marketing Plan 2005/2006

April 1, 2005

Adventure Program (North America)

TourYukon.org

After years of silence, a ‘position statement’ from Humane Society Yukon on the Yukon Quest and Yukon dog mushers… HSY is a big fan!

HSY ‘Dog Care Standards’ Position Statement

Position

At Humane Society Yukon, we firmly believe that the same standards should apply to the care of ALL dogs. These standards include adequate food and shelter, minimal tethering, lifelong commitment by animal owners, and safe, secure transportation when dogs must ride in motor vehicles.

Reasoning

All animals are entitled to a minimum of basic care. There is no difference between the needs of a pet dog and those of a working dog.

Details

All dogs require adequate shelter that provides protection from excessive heat, cold, wind, rain, snow and other adverse weather conditions. For dogs that live predominantly indoors, this shelter may be the house of the person they live with. For outdoor dogs, an adequately sized, insulated and clean dog kennel is required.

No dog should be kept on a tether except on a short term basis (i.e. a few hours at a time). Long-term tethering of dogs restricts freedom of movement, and can result in physical health problems as well as behavioural problems such as aggression. Instead of tethering, dogs should be provided with secure yards or pens in which they can run, play, interact with other animals, and defecate away from their living and eating areas.

Dog owners have a lifelong commitment to provide care for the animals that live with them. Dogs should be provided with veterinary care as needed, quality food on a daily basis, fresh water at all times, and regular attention so that health problems are identified early. Dogs should not be disposed of when they are no longer considered useful, regardless of whether they are considered to be pets or working animals.

When dogs must be transported in a vehicle, they should be inside a secure part of the vehicle, such as the inside of a car, the cab of a truck, or a carrying kennel which is anchored to the back of a pick-up truck. Under no circumstances should dogs be transported loose in the back of a pick-up truck.

An effective spay and neuter program should include:

A public education component which discourages breeding and describes the benefits of spay/neutering;

http://humanesocietyyukon.ca/positionstatements.html

HUMANE SOCIETY YUKON BLOG POSTING, Thursday, February 25, 2010

Musher Donations

The Yukon Quest ended this month with Hans Gatt as the winner, arriving with some very healthy looking dogs who were ready to keep going. A musher started an initiative to raise money for the shelter and we were presented with a cheque for $1,000 this week. So, thanks (in no particular order) to Hans Gatt, Gerry Willomitzer, William Kleedehn, Michelle Phillips, Simi Morrison, Maren Bradley, Jeff Luehmann, Ryan Kinna, Darren and Leanne Kinvig, Kenny Tetlichi, Sky High Wilderness, Uncommon Journeys and Didier Moggia.

As you may have heard or seen on CBC Yukon on Wednesday, we are in need of money to help us cope with the influx of puppies and dogs in the shelter. Thanks to everyone listed above for the much needed donation.

Posted by Humane Society Yukon at 1:59 PM

Labels: donation yukon quest

http://humanesocietyyukon.blogspot.com/2010/02/musher-donations.html

YUKON QUEST POSITION STATEMENT ON DOG CARE:

CBC NORTH STORY (FEB. 9, 2007) – ‘VETERAN MUSHER CALLS ON QUEST TO CONFRONT POSSIBLE DOG CULLING’:

Mushers running the Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race should have to sign a declaration that they do not cull unwanted dogs and puppies, long-time competitor Frank Turner says. Although there have been huge improvements in sled-dog care over the past several decades, Turner says the issue of culling still needs to come out of the shadows. “Competitive kennels, or even kennels that may not be competitive but aspire to be, often breed more dogs than they’re actually going to be able to keep, afford to keep and pay for the vet bills, the food and all the other associated costs,” Turner told CBC News in a recent pre-race interview.

“If you added up the numbers, there’s no way all those other puppies or young dogs are going to be sold or given away to homes. We’re just breeding too many dogs.” The Yukon Quest should admit that culling is part of the competitive racing world and take measures to discourage it, he said. “I mean one of the things that the Quest could do on the entry form is do a declaration – to participate in the Quest you declare that you do not practice culling of dogs,” he said.

The race does not have a policy on culling. Quest race marshal Mike McCowan would not say whether culling is a common practice when asked about it Thursday. “It’s not our business,” McCowan said. “I mean it’s like going up to somebody and saying, ‘How do you make your bed in your own house?’ That’s not our business.”

I had attempted to post a comment on the HSY blog about this ‘generous donation’. Apparently the HSY does not appreciate receiving flak about the optics of their accepting dirty money from people (a “Who’s Who” of dog exploiters) who so blatantly spit in the face of the HSY position statement on acceptable dog care. The dog mushers should have raised funds for one of the dog tour businesses who donated. A representative of the company can be heard most Saturday mornings on CKRW ‘Trader Time’ begging for freezer damaged meat for their dogs (CKRW also helps arrange hook-ups for Yukon back yard breeders on the show – selling firewood, however is not allowed).

Never have I heard of, or read of a spokesperson for HSY commenting after the numerous times dogs have been hurt or killed in the Yukon Quest. Nor am I aware of Yukon media ever calling HSY for comments when dogs are hurt or killed. The HSY often has representation on its board by people sympathetic to the Yukon Quest and dog mushing (and representation by dog breeders as well). Some HSY members support both the society and the Yukon Quest and do not see any conflict in doing so.

It has recently come to my attention that a new pamphlet produced by the Government of Yukon regarding the new animal protection act features prominently, several images favourably depicting Yukon dog mushing. These pamphlets are handed out at the Mae Bachur Animal Shelter in Whitehorse. What input did HSY have in developing this pamphlet as HSY is supposedly a vital stakeholder/contributor to the legislation?

The Yukon Quest and Yukon Dog Mushers’ Association definitely made sure to protect their right to exploit dogs when the act was updated. At a public meeting in 2008 regarding the animal protection act, one of the YTG representatives (a veterinarian) had the gall to show up wearing a Yukon Quest fleece vest. This person also said at the meeting that it was not illegal to shoot dogs in the Yukon. Is the HSY afraid of offending the Yukon Government which gives a paltry annual sum for funding the humane society? Paltry in comparison to the money and resources the Yukon Quest gets from YTG that is. And then Indian Affairs Minister Chuck Strahl kicks in another quarter million dollars to help promote the race in aid of Yukon tourism.

It is shameful that a couple of Yukoners had to take it upon themselves to spend a considerable portion of their lives advocating for dogs used as sled dogs because the HSY has been silent about the dog mushing and dog racing cruelty that has been allowed to go on unopposed for many years. How does the HSY expect irresponsible animal owners from changing their ways when the HSY instead builds bridges with MUSHERS who breed irresponsibly, keep dogs in inhumane conditions and who have NO lifelong commitment to the animals in their ‘care’?

 Humane Society Yukon needs to get out of bed with the animal exploiters.

 Terry Cumming

http://sleddogwatchdog.com

Letter to editor: ‘Quest slighted’ Wednesday March 3, 2010 (Yukon News)

I am writing to express great dissatisfaction with the Yukon News for the complete lack of any news regarding the Yukon Quest. In recent issues there was not a mention of the  great race that symbolizes so much of what the Yukon is all about.

I have followed the Yukon Quest for 27 years and I have read the Yukon News for 30 years, as long as I can remember the News was a part of the Quest reporting. Why has this  suddenly changed this year? Did you bow to animal right activists who often write to the editor? I hope not. I do support them having a forum to voice their opinions, most of  which I do not agree with, but a place for them to speak is important.

The Yukon Quest is so much a part of the Yukon and your newspaper the Yukon News is “The” paper that travels to all the Yukon communities keeping them up to date with all  the news.

Over the past few years the quality of local news coverage has been greatly reduced. If I wanted to buy Scripps Howard News I would buy the New York newspaper. If the local  coverage continues to be poor I will have to evaluate if it is worth the price of the paper.

I must add that I have been an advertiser with you for the past 10 years, to the tune of about $8,000. Lately about the only thing going for the Yukon News has been the  classified section. Local coverage of news, sports and Yukon culture is a very important role your newspaper provides for all Yukoners. Please step up to the plate and put the “Yukon” back into the Yukon News.

Trevor Braun, Whitehorse

[Had a good laugh over this letter by Trevor Braun. He obviously has not been reading the News’ Yukon Quest coverage too closely (at least in the last few years). Did he miss  reading about drunken race volunteers possibly endangering the lives of both human and canine race participants? Did he miss hearing about the “1,000 huskies” who go through  the Fairbanks animal pound every year (the vast majority of the dogs are cast-offs from dog mushers)? Did he miss the numerous stories about the questional competence of the  Quest race organization itself? Why did Mr. Braun neglect to mention that he once was a Quest race participant himself? And nice subtle threat about discontinuing advertising his  outdoor adventure business in the Yukon News!]

Letter to editor ‘Your photo choice was ironic’ – Whitehorse Star, March 5/2010
Whitehorse Star Editor’s note: this letter, submitted by Lily Gontard, is also addressed to the Yukon Quest.

It was with some surprise that I saw my own picture used in an advertisement for the Yukon Quest in the Mar. 3 edition of the Whitehorse Star.

Of course, I am flattered that you would consider using my portrait (and it is one of my many good sides) to promote the mighty Quest.

Alas, there is some irony in your choice of model to depict the ultimate sled dog.

Truth be told, you don’t get a fur and physique like mine living in a dog yard or by pulling a sled.

My classic husky looks are the result of years regular brushing, pedicures, working out with my private trainer, belly and neck rubs, riding in the front seat of the car, a balanced  diet (no raw fish or meat – the toxins!) and a handy supply of dog biscuits.

There’s a lot of meditation involved, too.

The true irony of this situation is that I was born in a Whitehorse sled dog yard and my life would’ve been cut short because myself and my three siblings were slated for the  spring cull.

But thanks to a noble musher from Skagway who took us home, our lives were spared.

Shortly after arriving in Skagway, I found a home with an attentive human companion from Whitehorse who’s never judged me for being big-boned … and she has supported me  in my creative and athletic pursuits ever since. Props, human companion!

You can understand why my views on the Yukon Quest are mixed: I enjoy sport and I support my brothers and sisters in their efforts, but if it wasn’t for that kind-hearted musher  from Skagway, I wouldn’t be here today.

And you wouldn’t have used that fabulous photo of me in your ad.

Keep on howling because I will,

Trudi
Whitehorse

Letter to editor ‘Who champions the four-legged champions?’
March 5, 2010
http://yukon-news.com/letters/17065/


Email message from ‘lone spokesperson’ for CBC Yukon, March 8, 2010

Hey Terry.

Always enjoy the detail and attention you put into your cause.

However… before you put Genesee Keevil on a pedestal… you should know she’s a musher… and keeps a bunch of dogs on her property at Squatter’s Row.

Just thought you should know.

Al

Al Foster
Reporter/Editor
CBC North
Whitehorse Yukon

[Doesn’t CBC have highly-paid communications people to respond to the well-deserved criticism directed its way instead of relying on staffers with hurt feelings replying by way  of a condescending email message? And yes, I was well aware that Genesee Keevil was a dog musher and have noted such on this website since it was launched in Feb. 2007.  Send The Fifth Estate up to Squatters’ Row immediately to dig up some dirt on her dog mushing operation!]

Letter to editor: The city’s killings of dogs are no joke – Whitehorse Star, March 19, 2010

Animals are once again used as the butt or springboard of jokes on CBC radio. On Thursday, CBC’s Yukon A New Day crew played a “dog catcher” song prior to Sandi Coleman’s  interview with outgoing city bylaw manager John Taylor, a story the Star had broken the previous Monday. After this song, program director Roch Shannon Fraser appeared to  crank up the volume when he said, “We caught something!” The crew broke out with “Ha-ha-ha’s; hee-hee-hee’s.”

Can someone at the CBC please tell the public what is so funny with respect to animal cruelty? When will you stop using nonhumans as a pathetic joke? Do you find the fact that  Bylaw catches, kills, and has done nothing to address the ongoing problem facing dogs in Whitehorse, funny?

Did you know that Bylaw is now keeping the killing of animals in the pound confidential? Maybe CBC could ask a few tough questions for Mr. Taylor to answer, like, “Why is it now  a big secret on the amount of animals killed by the city?”

John Taylor is proud to remember the story of Trooper the dog (who was dragged down Hamilton Boulevard). Since charges were laid (thanks to concerned citizens) and  Trooper is in a good home, this is a good story to “remember,” said Mr. Taylor.

What? The Trevor the dog saga (which is still ongoing) isn’t a “story to remember”? Well, I guess not when the City of Whitehorse, led by Mr. Taylor, has spent upwards of  about $30,000 to kill Trevor. A story which has made national and international news. A story which the CBC failed to air correctly despite many resources at its ready. Why did  the CBC bother showing-up in court? Just so one of their high-profile “reporters” could jokingly ask Mr. Taylor, “Is he still barking?” – referring to Trevor?

Speaking of animals, when will CBC Yukon take a break from giving the exploiters and killers of nonhumans a stepping stone for the inhumane treatment of animals? Here is one  for you: How about interviewing YTG on the so-called new Animal Protection Act? Ask why, since this new act was amended, there appears to be no true protection for animals  in the Yukon? Ask why the exploiters and killers of, let’s say, dogs, don’t appear to be concerned that this act will affect the way they exploit “their” dogs.

The Animal Protection Act is truly an act that protects humans from doing pretty much anything they want to do to non-humans; an act which states it’s what humans want from  animals, not what is good for animals that drives government polices.

CBC: please put public money at work; investigate the subjects of your report!

For the animals!

Mike Grieco
Whitehorse

P.S. I hope the ignorant, rude and appalling person who phoned me regarding my letters to the editor would please go public with what you said to me. Otherwise, find a positive way to relax – without killing animals.

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
Whitehorse

The CBC is in need of another ‘tune-up’ By Whitehorse Star on February 15, 2013 at 4:07 pm

This letter was primarily motivated by a recent radio interview (Feb.1, 2013) conducted by CBC Whitehorse Mid-Day Café host Russ Knutson, in celebration of the Yukon Quest’s 30th anniversary.

Mr. Knutson had a jovial-sounding, half-hour pre-recorded session with ex-Quest musher Frank Turner and Whitehorse author/Quest evangelist John Firth.

It seems that on an annual basis, Mr. Knutson and some of his cohorts give generous airtime to people like Turner who have gained fame and fortune on the labours of their dogs, and in this case also to Mr. Firth.

In my opinion, he serves as a veritable propagandist for the Yukon Quest and for the dog mushing/racing industry.

In a manner I am quite used to seeing CBC employ, Knutson used a brief part of the interview to ask Turner and Firth for their opinions on Quest race opponents’ views (without getting into too many details) rather than directly asking the animal advocates themselves for their many specific concerns.

Apparently, the CBC believes this to be the best way to discount accusations of their failure to air both sides of the story.

I am also aware that “St. Francis of the Yukon” (Turner) served as the inspiration for the newly-elected president of the Humane Society Yukon (HSY; Dec. 21, 2012 Star story) after the man had heard the CBC interviewing Turner (about his wonderful ideas and suggestions for a more functional humane society?).

Pretty comfy situation for any dog musher or animal trapper to be able to call up the CBC (or vice-versa) and be given free rein to spout their garbage.

And then I see on CBC Northbeat’s coverage of the HSY election, Frank Turner, “front row centre.” (I was surprised he wasn’t elected as president, such is his local renown.)

I need to point out to the new HSY board, in case they are unaware, some of my knowledge of the relationship between the HSY and the mushing community.

About a year or so after the Mae Bachur shelter was opened, I learned as a new volunteer that a certain unnamed Quest musher had dropped off a couple of unsuccessful sled dogs.

Their names were Franklin and Preacher.

Staff and some other volunteers were upset because, it was conveyed to me, there was an “unwritten rule” from its inception that the shelter was not to be a convenient dumping ground for dog mushers, yet somehow two dogs got into the system.

The dogs, with various behaviour/socialization issues, spent a relatively long time at the shelter before being adopted by a local couple who mushed recreationally, and who took in other hard-to-adopt dogs.

At that time, I had not yet developed any strong views against the Yukon Quest or the mushing industry.

A few years later (around 2004/2005), alarms went off again after some staff, volunteers and HSY members/donors were up in arms over word of some new leased land behind the shelter being developed for/having a proposed use as, a yard for “outside dogs”.

This was again interpreted as being a place for mushers to ditch unwanted/surplus dogs.

This project seemed to have been mothballed by the HSY board after the outcry.

I then took a more active role advocating for sled dogs (“slave dogs”, as I now refer to them).

I was puzzled as to why the HSY has never, to my knowledge, spoken up against the Quest, what with its annual occurrence of dog suffering on a mass scale, and often, over three decades, dog deaths.

As a volunteer at Mae Bachur, I was told by some staff and other volunteers about general sled dog neglect by some owners, and even reports of gunshots from the vicinity of remote dog yards, with a limited capacity or lack of will for the HSY to conduct rescues.

Having said that, I am aware of a 2007 Yukon News story which mentions Frank Turner having been previously involved in the rescue of 17 dogs left to starve near Fish Lake.

I am not aware of the HSY having been notified about this, or if so, having had any role in asking Turner for help.

The only public rescue involving the HSY happened last February, in the rescue of 10 dogs from a Haines Junction-area musher.

Neverthless, it seems to me that the HSY has avoided public involvement in the “sled dog” fray, and has left that battle to one or two private citizens, acting without any public backing nor encouragement from the HSY.

Russ Knutson, were he to choose to act as a responsible and ethical journalist would, could have asked Turner and Firth about the actual official body count of Quest race dogs over 30 years – not something the Quest or its big supporters (the Quest would have shut down years ago without huge injections of cash from Tourism Yukon) want publicized.

Turner himself, prior to the 2007 Quest, brought up the culling issue to CBC (!).

That year’s race marshal stated in response that it was not the Quest’s business or concern what mushers did in their own dog yards. (Perhaps the CBC should delete this news story from its website.)

Not another peep out of Turner about culling, and the Quest, to this date, does not have a policy.

Turner also acted as a consultant to the B.C. government’s Sled Dog Task Force (the Whistler sled dog slaughter).

The highlight of that body’s public snow-job was, to me, the illustrated method of the correct way to shoot a dog!

Anybody who has read Firth’s book Yukon Quest: the 1,000 mile dog race through the Yukon and Alaska should be shocked by the numerous references to dog suffering, and callous disregard by Quest mushers toward their dogs:

• “All our dogs have got the same damn name – you dumb sonofabitch” (Alaska musher Jon Gleason); and

• even a reference to the disillusionment and withdrawal of services by a race veterinarian because, to the Quest organization, “dog care” appears to be mere window dressing.

One could be led to think that the infliction of animal suffering and risk of death are the big attraction to hardcore Quest fans.

Another dog was killed this year for people’s entertainment. (How many dogs will be culled to make room for more canine “athletes”?

We’ve had another shameful display of yellow journalism by the publicly funded CBC.

(Some friendly advice to Yukoners: turn off the CBC; they are making you stupid.)

Another year of the Quest being promoted to Yukon school children, with the blessing of government and the Yukon education system.

Some $2.3 million of Yukon government money has been given to the Quest since 1999. That’s money that should have been used to benefit (not exploit) those who can’t speak for themselves (Yukon animals), or all the unfortunate people in Yukon who suffer without help.

In closing, amongst the 2013 Quest hoopla on the CBC, I was somewhat heartened to hear a quick news snippet about more Whitehorse people speaking up for the dogs and hope that should the Quest still be around in 2015, there will be a sizeable contingent of people at the race start protesting to shut down this barbaric race for good.

Terry Cumming
sleddogwatchdog.com
Regina