Travel Yukon (… better yet, DON’T TRAVEL YUKON – Avoid it!)

Alaska Brewing Company

K&L Distributors

Latitude Wireless



TransCanada [Pipelines] – also sponsor of Rush Limbaugh HATE RADIO

Whitehorse Daily Star

Air North – Yukon dog abusers’ Airline

Alpine Lodge

City of Fairbanks

City of Whitehorse

CKRW The Rush (Whitehorse Radio Station)

High Country Inn

Kinross Fort Knox

Lotteries Yukon (gambling with dogs’ lives)

Lynden Transport

Trademark Screen Printing, Embroidery, Silk Screening – Fairbanks

Whitehorse Motors (Ford)

Fifth Avenue Design & Graphics

Alpine Aviation Yukon

Apocalypse Design – Fairbanks

Canadian Tire – Whitehorse

Everts Air Cargo

Fairbanks Memorial Hospital – Denali Center

Fraserway RV

Fred Meyer

HughesNet Alaska

Fell-Hawk Placers

Manitoulin Transport

North Star Computing

Northrim Bank

Northern Alaska Tour Company


Orion’s Belt School of Self Defence

Skookum Asphalt – Whitehorse

Tait’s Custom Trailers

Warbelow’s Air Adventures

White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad



Alaska State Parks / Snow TRAC

Alaska Army National Guard

Bureau of Land Management

Canadian Rangers – Minister of National Defence

City of Dawson

City of Fairbanks

City of Whitehorse

Fairbanks North Star Borough

Government of Yukon

Kwanlin Dun First Nation

Little Salmon/Carmacks First Nation

National Park Service

Selkirk First Nation

Village of Carmacks


Alaska Tent & Tarp

Alpine Veterinary Medical Centre

Finning Tractor


Horst Expediting and Remote Operations

Klondike Business Solutions

Lithia Chevrolet Cadillac of Fairbanks

Peterson Technology Solutions

Pleasant Valley Store

Polar Group


Spenard Builders Supply

Spirit of Alaska FCU

Super Save Propane and Fence Rentals

Summit Logistics

Taiga Ventures

Total North Communications

Usibelli Coal Mine

Wells Fargo

Wright Air Service

Alaska Coffee Roasting Co.

Alaska Pacific Leasing

Arctic Construction Ltd.

Arctic Star Printing

Aurora Animal Clinic

Bob Eley

Cheryl Bradley, CPA

Chocolate Claim – Whitehorse

Cold Spot Feeds


Denali Industrial Supply

Denali State Bank

Fairbanks Convention & Visitors Bureau

Fairbanks Host Lions

Fluid Management Technologies Inc.

Horizon Services


Jill Pollack & Co.

Journeys by Jerry Van Dyke

Klondike Visitor Association

Kluane Freight Lines

Leslie Management Consulting


Municipality of Skagway

National Car Rental

Northern Power Sports

Northerm Windows & Doors – Whitehorse

North Haven Communities

Outside the Cube

Pro Music

Quality Sales

Rockwell Engineering & Construction

Samson True Value Hardware


Santa’s Stiches

Selkirk Grocery

Smallwood Creek

Sourdough Fuel

Taiga Ventures

UAF/CTC Culinary Arts


Westmark Hotels

White Spruce Trailers

Yukon Denture Clinic

Yukon Pump – Whitehorse

Alaska Aero Fuel

Alaska Rubber & Rigging

Alsco-American Linens


Arctic Fire & Safety

Aurora Geosciences Ltd.

Dimond Fence Company

Ivory Jack’s

LuLu’s Bread & Bagels

Nuway Crushing Ltd. – Whitehorse

Meadia Solutions

Midnight Sun Coffee Roasters – Whitehorse

Powerhouse Signs

Vend Alaska/C&A Distributors

Injured sled dog, Aklavik NWT sled dog race, Winter of 2006/2007 [Photo submitted]

Injured sled dog, Aklavik NWT sled dog race, Winter of 2006/2007 [Photo submitted]

Sled dog race, Inuvik, NWT, Winter of 2006/2007 [Photo submitted]

Sled dog race, Inuvik, NWT, Winter of 2006/2007 [Photo submitted]

Inuvik sled dog race, Winter of 2006/2007 [Photo submitted]

Inuvik sled dog race, Winter of 2006/2007 [Photo submitted]

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 Foster
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 Vic Istchenko (CBC Yukon’s version of Geraldo) or The Fifth Estate up to Squatters’ Row immediately to dig up some dirt on her dog mushing operation!]

smellslikeyukon1The real problem when it comes to musher dogs is the same as for greyhounds – what to do with the ones that won’t run fast enough or are too old to run competitively. No one talks about it but every once in a while someone will be out in the woods and come across a pile of dead dogs, shot in the head, or if they’re puppies, necks wrung.”

Forum message attributed to Hay River, NWT resident – April 5, 2007

Yukon Quest – `Media Darling`

The Yukon Quest has for many years benefitted from a lack of media scrutiny with regard to the crueler aspects of the race itself, and to the sad conditions many sled dogs live in when they are not racing. In the early years of the race, the media may be forgiven somewhat for their limited awareness about sled dog welfare. However, we are now living in the ‘information age’ and media have no excuse for not delving further into the various cruelties inflicted on dogs by the Yukon Quest, or the suffering caused to dogs because of the lack of any regulation of mushers’ sled dog operations in the north.

There is much criticism of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation on this page and web site. The writer is not blindly opposed to CBC but actually grew up listening to CBC Radio from an early age. It helped to develop my judgement as to recognizing ‘irresponsible journalism’ whenever I encountered it. The CBC should have a policy of not supporting and promoting events that injure and kill animals.

In the Yukon, the major media sources are the two Whitehorse newspapers (The Whitehorse Daily Star and Yukon News) and the public radio and television broadcaster, the local Canadian Broadcasting Corporation affiliate (CBC `Whitehorse). All three organizations, to various extents, support and promote the Quest. The Whitehorse Star is a major sponsor, providing numerous full-page advertisements for fundraising events and other race promotions. The Yukon News has, in the past, sponsored individual Quest mushers, according to mushers’ web sites. CBC Yukon and its parent, CBC North, are the biggest media cheerleaders, and negative coverage of the Quest by CBC has been practically non-existent for the 20-odd years the Quest race has been staged.

CBC Yukon and CBC North: Irresponsible journalists use public airwaves to promote an ethically questionable race that has killed and injured sled dogs:

In February of 2005, the [now] administrator of this website wrote a ‘letter to the editor’ that was published in the ‘Yukon News’ about CBC Yukon’s perceived biased coverage of the Yukon Quest. The letter, headlined (by the editor) ‘CBC Should Stop Cheerleading for the Quest,’ was printed on the Friday of the first week of the Quest, in time for the Quest mushers’ layover in Dawson City. The letter addressed the perceived lack of journalism ethics displayed by several CBC radio employees when speaking about the Quest, seemingly sanctioned by CBC management.

For most of the race there was no discernible change in CBC’s coverage. However, toward the end of the race it became apparent from listening to CBC Radio that the letter had registered with at least two CBC Radio personnel. For example, the visiting ‘writer-in-residence’ at the Pierre Berton House in Dawson was interviewed on the second Friday after the start of the Quest (when most mushers had already finished).
The writer mentioned that he had been in Dawson watching the mushers arrive there, and told CBC Yukon radio announcer Roch Shannon-Fraser that, although he realized the Quest was somewhat controversial, he found it ‘touching’ to watch the dog teams arrive.

To that date in the Yukon, the only way this visitor would have thought the race was controversial was by reading the ‘CBC as cheerleaders’ letter which would have been passed around in Dawson during the mushers’ mandatory rest stop there, and another letter (also published in the Yukon News) critical of a particular Quest musher known for his callous treatment of sled dogs, from another Whitehorse resident
during the second week of the Quest.

The next day (early on a Saturday morning) Mr. Shannon-Fraser was talking to CBC’s Quest reporter Trisha Estabrooks, on one of the final Quest reports, and he questioned her about Quest sled dog care. He was assured by Ms. Estabrooks that Quest mushers took great care of their dogs and the name of a local Whitehorse-area musher was brought up, a musher who is widely promoted as being the ‘gold-standard’
with regard to dog care. This same musher had in the 2001 Quest, according to the ‘Racing the White Silence’ book by Adam Killick, “through an oversight,” neglected to bed his dogs down properly on a cold night early in the race, and the dogs’ heat loss had melted body-shaped impressions in the snow, causing the dogs to endure much suffering, and sapping their strength.

Because of CBC’s perceived pro-Quest bias, a decision was made to file an official complaint with the CBC Ombudsman, to have the issue investigated.

The complaint was responded to by the Director of English Radio and Television,  Mike Linder, from CBC North headquarters in Yellowknife. Mr. Linder ‘pooh-poohed’ the concerns expressed, and furthermore made a valiant defense of the Yukon Quest (strangely enough, Quest officials themselves never respond to the scant criticism the race has received over the years). A response to Mr. Linder’s ‘whitewashing’ of CBC’s biased reporting was e-mailed to several media sources and animal rights organizations, and included the original complaint letter and the response from Mr. Linder.

Shortly after, the Whitehorse Star published the letter of response to Mr. Linder (a previous CBC Yukon staffer and station manager), which the editor titled “Stop ‘Cub Reporting’ on a Northern Disgrace” (April 8, 2005). This apparently infuriated Mr. Linder who quickly wrote a letter to the Star ‘accusing the accuser’ of making ‘unwarranted personal attacks’ and ‘slandering’ individual CBC Yukon employees. It was obvious that Mr. Linder did not read the actual letter, but was responding to communication from CBC Yukon informing him of the letter having been published in the Star. In his letter to the Star editor [see ‘Personal Attacks Were Baseless’ letter, to follow], Mr. Linder defended by name those employees named in the original complaint letter (and some who were not).

It must be noted that, to that date, the only CBC employees named in print by the Star were the CBC ‘cub reporter’  (Trisha Estabrooks) who had covered the 2005 Quest race and one of the hosts of the CBC Yukon morning radio show. The week after, the Star then published the original letter of complaint to the CBC Ombudsman – ‘CBC is Promoting Cruelty to Sled Dogs’ (April 15, 2005).

CBC’s Yukon Quest reporting policy/defense of Yukon Quest according to/by Mike Linder (March 2005 CBC Ombudsman reply):

After a careful reading of your letter, I believe your true argument is with the very existence of the Yukon Quest and perhaps any and all dogmushing (sic.). I don’t dispute your right to hold this view but I can’t say that it is one necessarily held by the Yukon public…

There is great public interest in this event and as such it is one that the Yukon’s public broadcaster must pay attention to. This does not in any way suggest the event is above the same scrutiny we apply to other endeavours…

The Yukon Quest has been running for many years and CBC Yukon has been reporting it from the start. In our experience the Yukon public, the dog mushers and breeders and the veterinary community consider this a legitimate athletic event. The consensus appears to be the dogs, by and large, enjoy the event… [Ed. Note: I would be very interested, Mr. Linder, in seeing the transcripts of your interviews with the dogs. Did your reporters capture the last words of the many dogs who have died in the Quest over the years?]

I do expect our hosts to convey the sense of excitement around them when talking about one of the largest international events in the north. This should not be construed to suggest our team was “cheerleading”…

[Ed. Note: How’s this for cheerleading?]

February 24, 2005 Quest report from Quest reporter Trisha Estabrooks:

What a race! This morning, last week, the start of the race, it all seems like a blur. Lance Mackey, the rookie, victorious and hilariously excited. His father, Dick Mackey, travelled from Arizona to greet him at the Angel Point checkpoint. Today he stood on the finish line beaming. Dick Mackey looms large in mushing circles, being one of the founders of the Iditarod and by making history with his 1978 one-second win. Perhaps it was talking to him last night, perhaps it was my hunger for the race, but for just a moment I thought William Kleedehn would follow Mackey to the end. The finish line was exhilarating, the beginning of the end…

[Mike Linder letter continues]

The musher who dropped out early because of her team having bloody vomit and diarrhea [Ed. Note – it was actually bloody diarrhea and ‘normal’ vomit] did so at a designated dog drop with a veterinarian on hand to provide care for the animals. Weather prevented the plane from landing for two days. This weather related occurrence was unforeseen, but no lingering illness or injuries resulted…

The musher who overloaded his sled was a first-timer, learned his lesson and his “wore out” dogs recovered and completed the race in good health… [Ed. Note – The musher was Jon Little, of Kasilof, Alaska – an experienced musher/journalist who writes promotional articles about
dog mushing.]

For decades northern mushers have run their dogs under extreme conditions, sometimes to save lives, deliver mail, move freight or for their own personal survival. Quest mushers train their dogs to deal with conditions they are likely to encounter during the race…

If you or anyone else has any proof of animal cruelty it should be reported to the RCMP and/or the Humane Society. CBC Yukon would be receptive to reviewing any specific allegations or firsthand information you may have. [Ed. Note – Based on past experience, RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) officers do not have the will or resources to deal with animal complaints with their regular policing workload, and are also hindered by weak animal protection laws. Humane Society Yukon does not have either the resources or legal authority to police animal cruelty, more than that of any individual citizen of the Yukon. But this does not excuse HSY cowardliness/negligence,/political correctness in refusing to speak up against Yukon Quest cruelty and dog deaths or cruel practices inherent in the mushing industry in general over the years.]

[the letter concludes]

I hope I have gone some way to answering your concerns. I will note yours is the only complaint about our coverage we have received.

Reply from Mr. Linder (‘Personal Attacks Were Baseless’ – Whitehorse Star, April 11, 2005):

This is an open reply to the correspondence published Friday, April 8, as a letter to the editor re: CBC coverage of the Yukon Quest.

I believe I’ve addressed your substantive points in my reply to your letter to the CBC Ombudsman. That you then chose to bypass that process and circulate your correspondence widely was your decision. It seems to have achieved your goal, which appears to be gaining more attention for your personal views.

I challenged you to bring forward, to the proper authorities and the CBC, any evidence or first-hand knowledge you have of animal cruelty and neglect. You have not done so. Instead, you cite media reports as your sources. [Ed. Note – ???]

You then insult and denigrate those who made them – much as you insult and denigrate the many mushers, sponsors, community volunteers and veterinarians who participate each year in this event.

I have great respect for their professionalism, and you have given me no reason to doubt they operate from anything less than the highest standards of integrity and commitment. Your credentials to assess journalism appear to be on par with your credentials to assess the competence of those who work with or care for animals.

The people of the Yukon are well served and indeed fortunate to have broadcasters of the professional caliber of [four CBC Yukon employees’ names]. Your personal attacks on them are not only baseless but malicious and outside the bounds of civilized discussion. As I stated before, you are entitled to your opinion. I do not, however, believe that gives you licence to slander the dedication and professionalism of so many Yukoners, be they CBC employees or others.

To give evidence of CBC’s casting off all tenets of responsible journalism, here are some of the examples seen or heard on the public broadcaster’s various media formats:

After the 2005 Quest, when CBC Yukon had exchanged its Yukon Quest cheerleading garb for that of the Iditarod’s, one of CBC Yukon’s ‘A New Day’ morning show hosts told listeners (in a syrupy tone) in an interview with an Alaska Public Radio (another Quest and Iditarod media cheerleader) reporter that “of course we know that mushers are not motivated by money.” It is a great mystery how some of these newly-arrived CBC employees from southern Canada are instantly transformed into Yukon Quest (or Iditarod) disciples. Is there an internal policy at CBC Yukon, when talking about mushers, to occasionally refer to them as “well-respected mushers” or as “legends?” If an announcer had attributed the same altruistic motivations to Yukon politicians as he or she attributed to mushers, the phones at CBC would be ‘ringing off the hook.’

The 2004 CBC North television documentary ‘The Lone Trail: The Dogs and Drivers of the Yukon Quest’ used ‘creative editing’ to ridicule a lone, young activist who was brave enough to speak out in public in about the cruel aspects of the Quest. This offensive program is shown to tourists at the Yukon Tourism Reception Centre in Whitehorse. It was also circulated to the world on the CBC Newsworld International television channel. CBC makes ‘blood money’ off the documentary by selling it through private retailers.

This is a description from the CBC News national website about the video production:

The Lone Trail is a CBC documentary special about “The Quest,” an annual dogsled race that runs from Fairbanks, Alaska to Whitehorse, Yukon. The 1600 km race is gruelling and takes over a week to complete. The Lone Trail follows three of the race participants: a handicapped musher, a young woman and a third musher, who has competed in every “Quest” race and who is now contemplating retirement. This special broadcast, which combines moving human drama with breathtaking footage of the northern scenery, is guaranteed to keep viewers on the edge of their seats.

There is a permalink to Yukon Quest website featured on the CBC North web site year round. The fondness of CBC towards the Quest is evident in the written archived ‘race diaries’ and sound clips available on the site. UPDATE: CBC stopped adding content to the site after the 2006 Quest race.

The 2005 Quest reporter almost made the CBC Yukon noon show host cough up a vital organ by innocently blurting out that there was a portion of the Yukon Quest trail known as ‘The Dog Killer.’

CBC enthusiastically provides promotional support for Quest fundraising events. In mid-2005, one morning show host urged listeners to visit a popular Main Street coffee shop in Whitehorse (a venue for several Quest fundraisers), to see the ‘touching exhibit’ of Quest photography. CBC Yukon often treats Yukon Quest press releases or other Quest or Iditarod trivia as major news stories. Recent examples are:

the story about the local musher held up as an example to the corporate world; one about an Iditarod musher who did some TV ads in Alaska about depression (…Living in the north and feeling depressed? Get a bunch of sled dogs, they’ll cheer you up!); and a story about Canada’s national airline promoting the Quest on its flights for the month of December, 2005. One of the hosts of the CBC Whitehorse morning radio show excitedly expressed hope that it would be widely seen.

CBC Yukon and CBC North have for years, disseminated Yukon Quest propaganda to their southern affiliates prior to and during the Quest race, with radio spots sold to radio shows such as ‘Definitely Not the Opera’ and other national programs. CBC Yukon goes out of its way to make sure that its good friend, the Quest, receives promotion whenever a national CBC program does a spotlight on the Yukon.

Shelagh Rogers, host of the national radio morning program ‘Sounds Like Canada’ based her show in Whitehorse for a week in mid-December 2005, spotlighting various Yukon items of interest. She interviewed a young musher who was entered in the 2006 Quest race. Ms. Rogers visited the musher’s family home and took a tour of the dog yard. Shortly before this, the Yukon News had a full-page article about the young musher (November 18, 2005) and one of the accompanying photos showed the typical scene of chained-up dogs in the background. One could see in the photo, cheap plastic rain barrels used for dog houses, popular among mushers for their low cost, but which would provide very little protection from the elements.

Ms. Rogers needs to learn to recognize this minimal standard of dog care when she sees it (it was very likely that CBC Yukon employees did not tell Ms. Rogers that the Quest might be the ‘tiniest bit controversial’ to some listeners). In a related matter, earlier in 2005 on the CBC North evening television news program ‘North Beat,’ a Yellowknife dog musher was interviewed on a bitterly cold day in front of a dog house which had a glacier of frozen dog urine at the doorway, likely not even raising an eyebrow of the reporter.

Two CBC Yukon camera men were nominated for Canada’s version of the Emmys (the ‘Genie Awards’) for their filming of ‘The Lone Trail’ ‘documentary.’ They did not win, but were given special ‘internal awards’ by CBC for their work on the film (reported in Whitehorse Star, January 18, 2006). In the film there was footage of dogs running at night through icy water and a scene of exhausted dogs in burlap sacks being loaded onto a small plane. In the annual coverage of the Quest, where is the video footage of exhausted and suffering dogs? Where are the images of DEAD DOGS [Adam Killick, in his book, ‘Racing the White Silence,’ about the 2001 Quest noted that an average of one dog a year had died since the race’s inception. John Balzar, in his book ‘Yukon Alone,’ about the 1998 race, noted that two or three dogs died in some years, none in other years]?

Aside from Yukon Quest promotion, CBC Yukon is also very supportive of the fur trapping industry and big game hunting in the Yukon, judging by the frequency and tone of the stories – of which CBC can be depended upon to give only one side. Being supportive of these facets of northern society may possibly help to allay criticisms of CBC as being a member of the ‘liberal media,’ but whatever the CBC audience’s feelings are about these issues, the public broadcaster should give both sides of the story.

The intent of the complaint letter to the CBC Ombudsman was that some of the previous examples of media bias on the part of CBC would be included in the investigation. It was obvious by Mr. Linder’s letters, however, that CBC is entrenched in how it will cover the Yukon Quest, and did not bother addressing these points. Personally, I have better things to do with my life than sit around with my ears glued to CBC Radio, documenting the garbage that comes out of some of their employees’ mouths when they are speaking about the Yukon Quest. The sad truth is that CBC has chosen to take the approach of ‘preaching to the choir,’ seeing that the Quest is considered to be a ‘sacred cow’ by many Yukoners, and that many Yukoners also accept the word of CBC ‘as gospel.’

Whitehorse Daily Star

Although it is questionable that the Whitehorse Star, as a media entity, should be sponsoring a race in which harm is inflicted on dogs, throughout 2005 and early 2006, the Star was commendable in giving prompt and prominent attention to letters critical of the Quest and other letters to the editor about humane issues. 2013 UPDATE: Star editor Mr. Jim Butler has been extremely commendable and generous in publishing letters critical of the Yukon Quest as well as other controversial animal welfare-related letters in the opinion pages. Mr. Butler is now the sole remaining Yukon journalist with any guts, it seems.

Yukon News

The Yukon News, although not an official race sponsor, has in the past, sponsored some individual Quest mushers according to mushers’ web sites. At least two of the paper’s employees had, at points in their journalism careers, worked as dog handlers for northern mushers. One of these ex-Yukon News employees is Adam Killick, author of the book about the 2001 Quest, ‘Racing the White Silence: On the Trail of the Yukon Quest.’

To its credit, in the 2005 Quest, the newspaper had a headline about a musher using ‘tough love’ (as did the Star) on his dog team to arrive first at the Dawson City checkpoint, winning a ‘gold poke’ prize for his girlfriend. The ‘tough love’ consisted of running his dogs for fourteen hours, with minimal rest. The Yukon News also printed two critical letters about the Quest, and had a front page photo of a glassy-eyed, exhausted Quest dog in the basket of a musher’s sled. In early 2006, the News printed a letter to the editor from a Whitehorse resident about the Quest’s lack of political correctness in holding a raffle for a gas-guzzling ‘Hummer’ vehicle, whereas a local charitable organization, Habitat (For Humanity) Yukon, was raffling off a ‘Smart Car.’ [2013 update: Critical reporting about the Yukon Quest ended in the year 2009, the last year reporter Genesee Keevil covered the race – journalistic output by her and excellent photographer Ian Stewart was drastically curtailed that year. In 2010, the Yukon News ceded the trail to slimy cheerleaders like CBC Whitehorse and CKRW.

Northern Native Broadcasting Yukon

Even the voice of the Yukon First Nations people apparently largely subscribes to the point of view espoused by the pro-mushing community. In 2005, the weekly television news program ‘Nedaa’ produced a lengthy feature ‘Mush for Gold,’ which was heavily slanted towards promoting competitive mushing, including the lobbying efforts of the mushing community to have sled dog racing featured as a sport in the then upcoming 2010 Olympics in Whistler BC.

[Thank you Roxanne Livingstone and cameraman Luke Smith for the APTN National television interview during the 2007 Quest.]

Reporting assignments for media (this especially applies to CBC Yukon/CBC North):

1. Visit the dog yards of Yukon Quest mushers and report on the level of care provided to the dogs [e.g. – Are the dogs chained up or (preferably) kept in fenced enclosures? Do they have insulated dog houses? Is the dog yard securely fenced off to protect the dogs from predators, to whom a chained dog might make a tasty snack? Do the dogs have a fenced area where they can run free throughout the day? Do Yukon Quest mushers cull (kill) unwanted/unneeded dogs (including puppies), and if so, are they humanely disposed of? How about seeking out and interviewing veterinarians who are ethically opposed to races like the Yukon Quest and Iditarod;

2. Select a number of particular dogs who have competed in the Yukon Quest and monitor their lives for a period of several years to see how they are doing, to ensure that they are being treated in a manner that ‘elite athletes’ deserve to be treated;

3. Take a survey of dog yards throughout the Yukon (this applies to hobby mushers and sled dog tour operators) and ask the same questions posed in assignment 1;

4. Question the various levels of government in the north (including First Nations governments) to learn about what they intend to do help improve the shameful conditions in which many northern dogs exist;

5. In conjunction with local animal protection organizations, help develop media spots to educate northerners regarding humane treatment of their domestic animals;

6. For CBC only: as CBC Yukon/CBC North has already produced a promotional film for the Yukon Quest, the organization owes the public a documentary devoted to addressing humane issues in the north, affecting sled dogs and northern dogs.









‘Tag 24’

On November 8, 2008, a Whitehorse-area resident (and animal samaritan) found the body of a dead husky-type dog beside the Alaska Highway in the Golden Horn area outside of Whitehorse. The man has lived in the area for many years and occasionally picks up and buries dead domestic and wild animals on his rural acreage out of respect for their lives, instead of leaving them beside the highway to rot or be
scavenged upon.

The dog was described as a black and white female of undetermined age and was wearing a Yukon Quest race tag with the number 24 stamped on it. The tag does not appear to be a souvenir tag, but one that would be worn by dogs who run in the Yukon Quest. Shortly after finding the dog, the man placed ads on the internet believing that if in fact this was a Yukon Quest dog, she would be missed by her owner.

The man also contacted the Humane Society Yukon, local media, and the Yukon Quest office in Whitehorse seeking assistance in finding the owner of the dog. None of the authorities were of any help. The Yukon Quest office reportedly initially told the man they would “get back to him” but, never having to be accountable to the public despite the massive amounts of government money the Quest receives, nobody at the Quest fulfilled the commitment.

It was not until late February of 2009 that this matter was brought to the attention of Yukon-based sled dog advocates, who in turn notified a Whitehorse television reporter and a Whitehorse newspaper, both of whom do not (officially or unofficially) sponsor the Yukon Quest. The television reporter did some initial investigation and interviewed the man who found the dog. Film footage was also taken of a microchip
scan which was performed at the Mae Bachur Animal Shelter in Whitehorse. No signal was received, it is not known whether this indicated that the dog did not in fact have a microchip or if the frozen state of the body affected the transmission of such. The television reporter informed me that the ‘number 24’ represented the number of a Quest musher’s racing bib, and was a unique dog tag number.

The television reporter promised to continue the investigation at a later date (apparently not much support by the news producer about the timeliness of the story as the dog mushing season was on the wane). Unfortunately, the journalist ceased employment with the media concern in 2009 and that is where the story died.

The Whitehorse newspaper right from the start was reluctant to pick up the story, a final plea was made in late 2009 for the paper to take an interest. The man who found the dog gave permission to the newspaper to contact him, which was never done.

It is important to reiterate that there is no proof that this dog was in fact a veteran race dog who had in her lifetime, raced in the Yukon Quest. It is possible that a tag from another dog had been attached to her collar for whatever reason. However, this story would have never come to public attention had the Yukon Quest, in a timely manner, undertook the responsibility of offering assistance to help determine whether
or not this dog was a previous Quest racing dog, instead of either dismissing the case out of hand or, being the cowardly organization that the Yukon Quest is, hoping it would go away quickly.

One can certainly not blame the (total of two) Yukon media concerns who have a record of having reported relatively responsibly about the Yukon Quest race and the Quest ‘organization’ itself, for their reluctance in taking on this story. I can well imagine they have not received much in the way of appreciation for critical reporting, and may well have been subjected to nasty phone calls and emails (as is customary from the rabid dog mushing lobby).

It would be much appreciated if readers of this message who have information to offer, reply using the contact form on this blog (any submissions will be treated confidentially), or that sympathetic readers contact Yukon Minister of Tourism and Culture, Mike Nixon, asking him to order the Yukon Quest, for which his department is a major race sponsor, to cooperate in determining the identity
of this unfortunate soul. It should be noted that Yukon Government for many years has purposely avoided replying to animal advocates’ public questions and criticism.

We will not give up seeking the identity of this dog, who was given a respectful burial by her finder and myself on April 29th, 2009.