Whistler Dog Slaughter Stuns Canadians

Whistler Sled Dogs Slaughtered

Howling Dog team photo, from their website archive

Living near the Bruce Peninsula, I’ve always been tempted to try a day of dog sledding. I’m not usually one for outdoor winter sports, but sledding has always appealed to me. I’ve got a great deal of respect for the historic traditions behind sledding, which for so long was a major method of transportation and survival in the Far North. I’ve even teased American friends on occasion by telling them that we’re thrilled to finally have our mail delivered by truck, instead of by dog sled (and it’s somewhat scary how many of them have actually believed me, initially, at least. The giggling usually gives me away).

Of course, in the last century dog sledding has become more and more anachronistic. Most Inuit get around by snow mobile now, and dog sledding has been relegated to either the diehard old timers, or to tourists, like me, who’re looking for a taste of Tundra adventure. The “adventure tour” craze has led to a glut of “dog sledding” companies, which will take tourists out for an hour or even a few days.

One such outfit in British Columbia was banking, big time, that the Vancouver Winter Olympics were going to be an economic goldmine for them. With the post Olympic tourism slump came the reality that they had an awful lot of high energy dogs to feed, exercise and care for.

Their solution? Slaughter them all, by shotgun.

From CTV:

Police and the B.C. SPCA are investigating “horrific” reports that the general manager for a Whistler tour company slaughtered at least 100 healthy sled dogs last year, dumping their bodies into a mass grave.

The employee at a dog-sledding company now owned by Outdoor Adventures Whistler filed a WorkSafe BC claim for post-traumatic stress in May 2010 after shooting dozens of dogs to death.

“It’s horrific,” Marcie Moriarty, general manager for SPCA cruelty investigations, told ctvbc.ca.

“I’ve seen some pretty terrible things, but reading this [claim], I had to put it down at times.”

The slaughter was conducted on April 21 and 23. In his claim, the worker wrote that he had killed 70 dogs, but the company corrected that number to 100.

The dogs were killed because of a “slow winter season” after the Winter Olympics, according to WorkSafe BC documents.

The owners of the company aren’t denying that they ordered the employee to kill the dogs – heck, they even upped the final total, as noted above. In fact, their only defense is that they “assumed” that the slaughter had been done in a “humane manner”.
Outdoor Adventures says the cull was conducted by the manager of its subsidiary company Howling Dog Tours.

“It was our expectation that it was done in a proper, legal and humane manner. We only learned otherwise on Friday, January 28 when we read the WCB ruling for the first time,” Outdoor Adventures said in a release.

From the employee’s report, the last thing anyone could call the deaths of these dogs is “humane” –

.. The worker describes chasing after a dog that survived a shot to the face: “Although she had the left side of her cheek blown off and her eye hanging out, he was unable to catch her.”

Another apparently dead dog was dumped into the grave. “‘Nora,’ who he had shot approximately 20 minutes before, was crawling around in the mass grave he had dug for the animals. He had to climb down into the grave amidst the 10 or so bodies already there and put her out of her misery.”

According to the claim, the dogs panicked as they watched their compatriots being killed, and attacked the worker as he finished his job.

At one point during the slaughter, he ran out of ammunition and had to kill an aggressive dog with a knife.

“By that point he wanted nothing more than to stop the ‘nightmare’ but he continued because he had been given a job to finish,” according to the documents.

“He stated that he felt ‘numb.'”

As much as I want to feel sympathy for this employee, who claims he was “just following orders”, I fail to see how anyone who describes himself as being “emotionally attached to the dogs” could then kill them in such a gruesome manner.

You couldn’t put an ad on Craigs List? You could call the local shelters? You couldn’t call the police, and tell them you were being ordered by the heartless automatons who sign your paycheck to slaughter perfectly healthy dogs?

I’m sorry, but I’m not buying it.  When you choose to follow the orders of monsters, you become a monster yourself, and this whole thing is nothing short of monstrous.

3 dogs, 2 provinces, 16 volunteers, 1,037 km

Our rescue relay route

Our rescue relay route

Well, that was pretty much the most impressive rescue relay I’ve ever seen first hand.

Three dogs, two provinces, 13 teams of volunteer drivers, 5 different rescue groups (that I can think of off hand – there might be one or two more, and at least TWO of them don’t even ‘work for’ the actual breeds involved), and a rough total of 1,037 km of driving for everyone involved – and all to get three dogs into their new homes.

End of the day, two collies in new foster homes, one REALLY handsome Frenchie boy being fostered in Beamsville, and I went on a shopping spree at the weird Asian food market.

Did you know you can get a 10 lb bag of goat pieces for $5.99, and that there at least SIX kinds of yam? Also, “Lobster Flavored Shrimp Crackers” don’t taste like shrimp -or- lobster, but rather like somewhat salty packing foam.

Photos of the new boy as soon as Karen has assessed him. He’s definitely dog aggressive – some dogs, at least – but his surrender form says “good with cats and kids”. Well, we think that’s what it says – it’s all in French. It might actually say “good at EATING cats and kids”. One small words, such a big difference.

For all of their help with this rescue relay, our thanks go to Pug Canada Rescue, Greyhound Transport, Collie Rescue Network, Pug a Lug Rescue, the Montreal SPCA, the individual volunteers, the over night home care volunteers and the final fosters. You guys rock, especially Cheryl Lamb who whipped all of us into shape.

Go team Collie/Frenchie Relay!

Another title for our pretty cool blog

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A Raw Fed Miracle – Diabetes and Raw Food

Raw diet can control diabetes in cats

Petal the cat says she prefers raw mice

When you feed raw, it’s sometimes easy to get sidetracked by all of the debates and infighting that can take place in any insular community of like minded people. Arguments swirl around just what is (or isn’t) the “right” way to feed raw, with every party equally convinced that their method is the only correct method.

Then again, we sometimes run into a story that puts everything into perspective, and which makes us realize that it’s the essential core of what we’re feeding – raw, unprocessed meat, bone, organs, fruits and vegetables – that really matters.

Just before Christmas, I was contacted by a Veterinarian who had recently started exploring the concept of raw feeding. She had switched her own family dog over to raw, and he was an enthusiastic convert. She was now thinking of changing over some of her clinic cats, but had some concerns, since almost all of them had really specific health issues, two of them seriously diabetic. I told her that, while she would of course know better than I do about the medical management of diabetes, I did have numerous stories from pet owners who had told me that their own cats had experienced a total reversal of their diabetes when put on a raw diet.

Understandably, the Veterinarian was skeptical. I can be accused of having an ‘agenda’, I suppose – I don’t just feed raw, I work for a raw pet food company, and so my motives can’t be considered pure. My intent, however, was, and I did tell her that I could not claim that feeding her clinic cats would make any change in their diabetes – I could only suggest she try it, monitor their condition, and let me know about the results.

Christmas and the holidays came and went, and I received an excited phone message from the Veterinarian – she had some news for me about her cats, and she wanted to speak to me about it as soon as possible. When I returned her call, she started by telling me that she simply “stunned” at what she had seen happen with her cats since she started feeding them raw. Of the two diabetic cats in her clinic, both of them experienced completely normal blood levels within one week of being put on a raw diet.

Let me clarify something, first. Both of the cats she was telling me about had diabetes severe enough to require daily insulin. One cat was receiving seven units per day, the second was receiving eight, and even that was not adequately controlling his blood sugar. In the case of the second cat, all of the clinic staff believed that this was a cat looking at a slow but sure death sentence, since they simply did not seem able to get his diabetes under control.

In both of these cats, regular daily testing of their blood showed a stabilization within a week – one cat within just four days. Both cats, both severely diabetic, and both completely and totally off of insulin within the first week of eating raw. Both cats showed additional changes, as well – reduced volume of urine, formed stools, weight loss and glossier coats.

The changes that took place in both cats are so remarkable that the Veterinarian in question is now working on an article which she plans to submit to a Veterinary Journal. She’s been convinced of the benefits of feeding raw, and is now a vehement raw diet convert. These results – verifiable, tangible and, for the pets in question, life changing, are what brought most of us to raw feeding in the first place. It’s sometimes good to have a reminder of that.

Jack LaLanne and his raw fed German Shepherd Dog, Happy

Jack Lalanne – The original raw feeder?

Celebrity fitness guru Jack Lalanne just passed away, at the age of 96. Over his many years in the spotlight, Lalanne always practiced just what he preached – healthy food, lots of exercise and a positive outlook on life. Making regular appearances on his television show was Lalanne’s big white German Shepherd, Happy, who often performed tricks for the “kids in the television audience” who might be watching alongside their moms.

Lalanne was a pioneer in fitness, and he was also a pioneer in the realm of raw feeding – long before many of us had ever heard of it, and before some of us were ever born.

This YouTube clip from Lalanne’s television show details Happy’s diet, which Lalanne thought was the ‘key’ to Happy’s fitness and long life. Jack Lalanne – fitness and health pioneer, and one of the original ‘raw feeders’!