The provincial government has set up a task force to prevent the wholesale slaughter of dogs.
The nation has been in a state of shock following news that a Whistler sled-dog tourism company brutally killed 100 of their dogs after business took a dip after the Olympics.
On Wednesday, Premier Gordon Campbell announced that Kamloops-North Thompson MLA Terry Lake, a veterinarian by trade, will lead a government task force to review the circumstances of the killings and prevent future cases of large-scale animal cruelty.
“As a veterinarian, I was shocked and saddened by the description of the terrible treatment these dogs were reported to have been subjected to,” said Lake.
Details of the horrific April 2010 cull have incited rage among animal advocates and the general public.
Demonstration rallies are being planned this weekend in Whistler and Vancouver.
Organizations such as Humane Society International Canada have called for stronger laws in the wake of the mass killing.
The B.C. SPCA and Whistler RCMP are investigating the reports, which surfaced this week through a Workers’ Compensation Board review document, and criminal charges against the employee and company, Outdoor Adventures Whistler, are being considered.
SPCA spokesperson Lorie Chortyk said the animal welfare group has long been opposed to dog-sled tourism operations.
“People need to know there is a dark side to the sled dog tourism industry,” she said. “Some of these operations have hundreds of animals that live on a two-foot leash and only get exercise when it’s time to pull the sled. It’s a horrific existence for those animals.”
But many people in the sledding community are challenging the sweeping criticism.
Rob Bryce, a racer and member of the Prince George Sled Dog Club, owns 13 dogs and treats them like family.
“There are probably a few people that do cull their dogs, but in this day and age it’s something that’s not morally and ethically accepted,” he said. “I go to a lot of races and meet a lot of mushers and they all take great care of their dogs. Everyone in the business that I’ve talked to has been pretty saddened. These dogs run their hearts out for you day in and day out… and to give them a bullet to the head is unthinkable”