Sled Dog Advocacy?

Those of you in Whitehorse may have seen the posters put up by Terry Cumming opposing the Yukon Quest in particular and mushing in general due to what Terry claims is the cruelty of the sport. I know Terry well, and have just ignored his nonsense up until today. I just read a Letter to the Editor, though, in which he trashes the person/people who is/are tearing down his posters, calling them “very cowardly”. As soon as I post this I’m going to phone the City Bylaw department to see why he isn’t being charged for defacing city property – his posters are every bit as obnoxious as that of any of the other brainless “taggers” in this town.

If Terry chose to target the places where dog cruelty actually takes place (or animal cruelty in other forms), I’d continue to ignore him or maybe even support what he’s doing, but targetting mushers just puts my blood on low simmer. Any of you who know huskies know that you cannot force a husky to run. They love to run, and when they feel like quitting they do – period. Mushers don’t beat their dogs to make them run. Yes, they live much of their lives tethered to their dog houses – how is that any worse than the way much of the human population lives? (No, I certainly do not include myself in that number). Sled dogs get high-quality meals a couple of times a day – how many million people in the world can only dream about being that lucky? Compare the photo of race veteran Ricki at the top of this page with any number of photos you’ll see on tonight’s news – who is healthier, who is having a better life???

Sticking to dog cruelty, though, Terry needs to focus on the problem that he knows well from his years working with the Mae Bachur shelter – people who refuse to spay or neuter their animals. How many sled dogs die each year doing what they love to do compared to the number of dogs who are ploughed under at the Whitehorse garbage dump every year because nobody wants them? How many who do survive end up on apartment balconies or tied in backyards with no exercise, minimal food and no love?? I see professional mushers who even have chiropractors to help keep their dogs in shape – how many of you have ever taken your dog to a chiropractor?

Terry Cumming, get a life – I haven’t been one of the people who tears down your posters, but I’m going to start. I’ve discovered that Whitehorse has no bylaws preventing you from posting them – so, as you stated in the Yukon News that your “freedom of expression” allows you to put up those posters, my freedom of expression allows me to take them down.

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