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Why farmers responded to a sled dog incident

By Leslie Ballentine, Farming and food commentator

Recent revelations about the circumstances behind a sled dog cull in Whistler B.C. has gotten world-wide attention and has spurred some of agriculture’s critics to capitalize on this attention.  One of several examples was a Vancouver Sun commentary in which the author surmises that the mass shooting of nearly 100 sled dogs is no different than what occurs in animal agriculture on an hourly basis.  Citing a number of activist references and websites, this regular columnist goes on to say that he finds “it curious that we’re justifiably disturbed by the unspeakable act at Whistler yet remain largely complacent about the cruel and completely unnecessary slaughter of other animals.” By misrepresenting  agricultural practices he paints a false picture that demanded a response. After all, if agriculture doesn’t speak-up for itself, who will?

The following letter has hopefully helped set the record straight.

Letter to the Editor
Vancouver Sun
Published February 8, 2021
Comparing sled dog slaughter with farm animals unjustified

Re: In the time it takes to read this, nearly 20,000 farm animals will be slaughtered, Column, Feb. 3

By comparing the case of the Whistler sled dog incident to farming, Stephen Hume has wrongly linked this occurrence with an accountable system of food production.

Hume says he finds it curious that “we’re justifiably disturbed by the unspeakable act at Whistler yet remain largely complacent about the cruel and completely unnecessary slaughter of other animals.”

If Hume considers milk, meat and eggs unnecessary that is certainly within his right, but that right shouldn’t extend to his selective use of rhetoric to support this position. And while he may be complacent, farmers and ranchers are not.

Readers should know that farmers, in general, are committed to responsible animal care.

Furthermore, organizations such as the B.C. Farm Animal Care Council and the National Farm Animal Care Council have been established by farmers, ranchers, animal scientists and others to demonstrate and advance this animal care ethic.

Today’s farmers and other partners in the food animal sector are taking full advantage of new opportunities and programs to advance the animal care skills needed to operate in today’s world.

Training and certifications, laws and regulations, new technologies and scientific understanding are all at play in Canada’s animal agriculture and food production.

At the same time, there are plenty of opportunities for the public to get the food producers’ side of the story. From “virtual” farm tours, to written resources, to talking to farmers at your local farmer’s market or agricultural fair, the public can quickly learn that livestock aren’t sled dogs. And perhaps too, that comparisons to this unfortunate incident aren’t justified.

G. Auston BC Farm Animal Care Council, Abbotsford

The take-away message in all this is that when farmers and ranchers don’t speak up for themselves we can’t blame the public for being misinformed .

Until the next BLOG.


Posted by OFAC on February 15th, 2011 :: Filed under Activism,Animal care,Animal cruelty,Canada,Letters to the Editor
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One Response to “Why farmers responded to a sled dog incident”

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by bcfarmanimal and Ryder Lee, Ontario Farm Animal . Ontario Farm Animal said: New post: Why farmers responded to a sled dog incident [...]

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