The Yukon Death Race Lives On!

Mar 5, 2021 — 

 

*The above video features the author of this petition speaking about the plight of the northern sled dogs on CIUT HOWL at 11:17 mins.

 

SLED DOG ABUSE IS RAMPANT IN CANADA!

The Yukon Government is the largest employer in the Yukon Territory and also the biggest sponsor of the brutal 1,000-mile Yukon Quest sled dog race that has killed over 40 sled dogs. Most people who live in the Yukon are either directly involved in the Quest or have a friend or relative who is, or work in the hospitality industry or is an employee of the Yukon Government. Consequently locals are hesitant to oppose the Quest for fear of reprisal and the possibility of losing their job. Some sign this petition using a middle name or state they are from Canada rather than the Yukon.

 

There is still a lot of ignorance, misinformation, and controversy swirling about in the Yukon regarding sled dog racing and the Yukon Quest due to nonstop brainwashing by the Yukon Government and the local media who promote and portray this annual event as good clean family fun and great entertainment. But there’s just that one problem – dogs die. Sled dog racing is well-known for fostering the abuse and exploitation of the animals involved. Sadly the animals cannot speak for themselves.

 

Temperatures recently dropped to minus - 42 below in Whitehorse. All I could think about was the many dogs who are left outside in the dark on the end of a chain and the local kennel-owner who brags that he’s got 71 dogs chained up in his yard. No dog should be left out in such extreme conditions. This is just one example of the type of blatant animal abuse that goes unchecked in the north where sled dogs are often treated like disposable objects rather than the precious sentient beings they are.

 

MORE RACES!

The 1,000-mile Yukon Quest Sled Dog Race recently announced the race will be back in 2022. How many dogs will die next year?

 

The Yukon Journey: Last month the Yukon Government also sponsored another 500-mile sled dog race to replace the cancelled Yukon Quest calling it The Yukon Journey. Media covering the race painted an idyllic picture of the event in words and published photographs that begged the question – why were so many dogs running barefoot over sharp ice in sub-zero temperatures for hundreds of miles? And why have so many dogs died in similar races?

 

The answer is that dogs often run barefoot because their boots flip off during the race unless they are cinched so tight that they burn wounds into the backs of their legs. The #1 cause of death in sled dog racing is that dogs are run to death and choke on their own vomit in temperatures as cold as -55 degrees below zero. I suspect that some mushers stop to replace missing dog boots before they cross the finish line. They can be sneaky like that. Nothing surprises me.

 

The Summit Quest: The Americans also ran a race to replace the Yukon Quest calling it the Summit Quest, racing dogs over some of the most treacherous terrain on the face of the earth and forcing them to climb staggering mountain ranges pulling heavy sleds in extreme sub-zero temperatures, tackling Rosebud Summit – a 3,640-foot peak, and Eagle Summit – a 3,652 foot-tall gap through the White Mountains of central Alaska.

 

Most mushers don’t bother to observe the body language of a dog. They just want to win the race at any cost. In the end it’s all about money, greed and ego and dogs are often forced to race over jagged ice for hundreds of miles with no foot protection.

 

When the temperature drops down to minus -15 to -20 below most dogs (including northern breeds) will hold up their paws to signal pain, yet the media are always happy to publish pictures showing barefoot dogs at the finish line holding up their paws and other dogs furiously chewing at boots that are cinched too tight, and shots of dogs grinding their necks into the snow and rolling on their backs because they are half-crazy from harness burn. The mushers push their dogs beyond all endurance and then prop them up like a trophy at the finish line for that all-important photo-op.

 

The Ivakkak Husky Dog Race in Nunavik forces dogs to haul a heavy sled, musher, and gear 522 km along the Hudson Bay coast over some of the roughest terrain on the earth in some of the coldest temperatures on the planet. Dogs do not wear foot protection and organizers claim they ‘can handle it’. Media portrays stressed dispirited dogs.

 

The Iditarod 1,000-mile Sled Dog Race is scheduled to start on March 6th in Alaska and there are serious concerns that people and dogs attending this event may transfer the Covid-19 Virus. For mushers and race fans it’s a great excuse to party in the middle of winter however the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine warns that: “Since dogs can’t socially distance and 81% of those who finish the race end up with lung damage even under normal circumstances, the result could be dire.”

 

The Iditarod has killed 150 dogs and countless others die off-season while left chained up outside in the cold. Dogs are also slaughtered to save maintenance costs or because they lack the desired speed and stamina. Many others are dropped at checkpoints during the race. *In 2020 more than 220 dogs were pulled off the trail due to exhaustion, illness, injury, and other causes. We are never told what happened them.

 

There is a big difference between mushing and racing. Dogs do not belong in racing events where they are abused and suffer and die but because they are considered property there are no laws to protect them. The life of a northern sled dog is dismal at best. The life of a northern sled dog

 

P.E.T.A.: People keep saying, “Contact P.E.T.A.!” but I have been appealing to P.E.T.A. for many years now asking them to target the Yukon Government for sponsoring sled dog abuse but P.E.T.A. just gives me the same old lame excuse saying they are ‘focussed on the Iditarod’ and continues to ignore the Yukon Quest where the same mushers compete in both events. *It is a well-known fact that P.E.T.A. has a ton of money, raking in millions in annual donations every year and also plenty of resources including 6.5 million members and supporters worldwide. Clearly I am talking to the wind.

 

My new video FOOTPRINTS is a true story filmed in the Yukon. You can view it on YouTube at: FOOTPRINTS

 

It’s vitally important that we continue to speak out on behalf of the sled dogs to expose the truth and create awareness. We need to speak loud enough to drown out those who attempt to justify these barbaric events and pressure the Yukon Government to stop sponsoring them. We are the only voice speaking out for the defenseless sled dogs who continue to be exploited, abused, and forced to spend their lives tethered on a 4 foot chain 24-7. Please continue to share this petition and let them know we’re not going away!

 

*The ban imposed on my official website by Facebook remains in effect. Please signand share the petition. Tell Facebook To Lift The Ban!

 

When you speak for those who have no voice your soul smiles.

www.yukonpoetlaureate.com/

 

LINKS:

"because i am a sled dog" A video about life seen through the eyes of a Northern sled dog "because i am a sled dog"

Why you should never support sled dog races. Why you should never support sled dog racing

"it's howlin' time!" A book by pj johnson Poet Laureate of the Yukon dedicated to the plight of the Northern sled dogs "it's howlin' time!"

 

 

 

Contact

pj johnson Yukon Poet Laureate Whitehorse, Yukon Territory Canada yukonraven@klondiker.com