“Dogs in Distress”, Iditarod, and summer weather: Sled dogs still suffering

“Dogs in Distress”

You may have seen the recent W5 investigation, “Dogs in Distress”, which exposed the commercial sled dog industry in Canada. The investigation found disturbing evidence of dogs chained outdoors for prolonged periods; repetitive pacing behaviour; and inhumane forms of euthanasia.

The welfare issues highlighted in the investigation reiterate the need for updating B.C.’s Sled Dog Standards of Care Regulation, which are overdue for review.

You can watch the full investigation below. Please note that the images and stories shared in this story may be very upsetting.

W5: Uncovering the shocking treatment of sled dogs in Canada

An iconic winter tourist draw is being scrutinized by experts and activists. Once essential to the survival of indigenous communities, dog sledding is embraced today for sport and tourism. W5 investigates what sometimes goes on behind the scenes when dogs aren’t pulling paid customers.

Recent decision by Iditarod

A recent concerning decision by Iditarod officials also highlights welfare issues in the long-distance sled dog race across Alaska. Despite claiming that participants would be disqualified for inhumane treatment of dogs, race officials penalized those who made the decision to shelter their dog teams safely indoors during a dangerous storm.

Officials noted that the participants who decided bring their dog teams indoors gained a competitive advantage even though they “did the right thing for their dogs”.

This concerning decision highlights a prevailing attitude that sled dogs can be exploited for human gain, even at the expense of their well-being.

Act now!

With warmer weather fast approaching, sled dogs will soon find themselves in the sled dog tourism industry’s off-season. Current regulations allow dogs to be chained for more than 23 hours a day, and many outdoor dog houses provide little protection from the summer heat. Use the quick email tool below to help protect sled dogs now.

Last year, animal advocates called for stronger regulations for sled dogs.

More than 4,700 individuals used VHS’s quick action tool to contact B.C.’s Minister of Agriculture, Lana Popham, who is responsible for the Sled Dog Standards of Care Regulation.

Thanks to all the support, VHS was able to meet with the Minister. She indicated that reviewing the sled dog regulations was delayed, but that they are on the Ministry’s to-do list.

Each email to the Ministry helps to get this issue recognized as a priority as VHS continues to follow up. Can you send a quick email to Minister Lana Popham now?