100 Dead Dogs

Last modified on January 31st, 2011

As most people on Twitter now know, a dogsledding company in Whistler has recently admitted that it killed 100 of its dogs after demand was less than anticipated after the winter olympics. Instead of euthanizing these animals, allegedly some employee was given the task of killing these animals one by one and then burying them, some apparently while still alive.

Obviously this act is causing a lot of people to be upset. I personally think it’s an extreme form of cruelty, and that the company and people involved should be punished. These animals should have been offered up to others, or at the very least, have been euthanized humanely and without pain.

But Darren on Twitter raises an interesting point – why is it that these events cause people to be so worked up, when they are relatively common place within our own food system? In fact, I know a few people who have purposefully avoided watching movies such as Food Inc., mainly because they don’t want to know how bad things really are, as if that someone absolves them of the responsibility for supporting such a system.

While cows are supposed to be rendered unconscious using a bolt stunner prior to being processed (many actually don’t become unconscious immediately though, and are often skinned and processed while still conscious), chickens aren’t privy to the same luxury, and most are slaughtered alive by having their throats slit so that they bleed to death. Why is it that killing a chicken inhumanely is an acceptable act in our society, but killing a dog isn’t? Is it because chickens are food whereas dogs aren’t? If that’s the case, dogs are in fact eaten in many parts of the world. Should it be acceptable there?

I’m not trying to take away from the serious nature of what occurred in Whistler, and fully support the legal system doing what it can to punish this form of animal cruelty. But I encourage everyone to become more knowledgable about the commercial food system, since it is filled with examples of animal cruelty such as this, and most of us (myself included when I buy commercially prepared meats) help perpetuate it.