Anyone who sends this letter in blindly, is a puppet of an organization that doesn't really give a hoot about the dogs that they are trying to protect. What they are trying to do is elevate your emotional condition past any point of reason. And they do this by presenting half truths, and misconception.
In this message, they tell you that "eyewitnesses" report that Butcher "permanently" tethers her dogs. First, if they were "permanent", none of them would have never made the trip from Anchorage to Nome. And then they equate that this tethering is damaging these dogs, that are forced to sleep near where they deficate.
If this so outrages them, then why are they not going after the puppy mills in their areas (and there are some near Miami, where the chief critic resides)? These dogs are kept ONLY for their ability to breed, rarely, if ever, get vet checks (note that a vet log for each microchipped dog is a requirement for Iditarod racing dogs), and are often caged for their entire life never getting any human interaction, and will sleep IN their waste. Where is the critic for these dogs? No, it is much easier to lounge on the beach in Miami, thousands of miles away where it is more likely that they can outrage people.
They claim that dogs are "forced" to run. I guess that is the same as saying that an Aussie is "forced" to catch a frizbee, or a Lab is "forced" to dive into a pool of water. No, of course not, but people understand these dogs, and their love of what they do. Why will they not understand a dog that has been bred for hundreds of years to pull and run, and that it enjoys this as well?
And then quote a columnists that also knows nothing of the race or the dogs, and who also are thousands of miles away (one also in Miami). I guess that because a columnist says something, then it must be true. However, even their own papers publicly state that they are just "opinion" columns. If they are just "opinions", then why are they quoted as "facts"? My favorite one is the columnist that is absolutely positive that the mushers are beating their dogs, and if they tell you they are not, they are lying (remember, even his own paper OPENLY acknowleges that this is the columnists "opinion", and not necessarily factual).
And then they claim that mushers are "culling", and define this as "killing" unwanted dogs (though looking into Websters definitions, this means to select or seperate, and says nothing about killing). I guess this also means that your own city is "culling" animals your own local animal shelters. Millions of unwanted animals are destroyed right in your, and the critics, own hometown. But if you sign this letter, does this mean that YOU are trying to help these dogs. I won't say that mushers are not killing unwanted dogs. To say that none do, is like saying that nobody ever kills anything. But to then equate that all mushers kill their unwanted is stretching it to the other limit (and Ms. Butcher is one that definitely does not).
And the only Alaskan to write a column that is quoted claims that "cruelty is the law in many dog lots" (at least not the term "many", not "all" or "most"). Clubbing dogs is considered animal cruelty even in Alaska, so if this is happening, they should at least be arrested, which makes the public record. As for killing with a shot to the head, this is recognised as a legitimate form or euthanasia in many states. There was a recent dog in California, hit by a car, and then shot in the head by a officer of the law to prevent further suffering. Was he cruel? Outside of the fact that he actually missed and the dog lived, not really. In remote areas, when animals are sick or injured, they are shot as there isn't a vet nearby to administer a lethal injection. And if it were, to many of these people, a 5 cent slug is far cheaper.
But again, where are these critics, when gassing dogs is still allowed in their own states. If they even thought that there should be "humane" euthanasia, they would be pushing to to stop this form of destruction.
And then they claim that iditarod dogs die from "exertional myopathy". My neighbors dog died from the same syndrome, many dogs across the nation who don't exhert themselves die from the same condition. Should we stop dog ownership? Bill Clinton's dog Buddy was hit by a car when he got loose. Should we stop cars from driving down the road? However, veterinarians throughout the world have learned much more about this condition through Iditarod dogs because there are strict logs and checkups that can trace what is happening in dogs. So many more dogs are alive today because of these live studies than have died in the Iditarod from this ailment.
And then they claim that 120, maybe more, dogs died while running the Iditarod. In over 30 years of running this race, 120 dogs have died. To this I ask the critic just one question: just LAST MONTH how many dogs died in just ONE animal shelter in greater Miami? Seems to me there is missplaced passion.
One of the supporters of the chief critic is People for the Ethical
Treatment of Animals (PETA). However, public records of a shelter in
Virginia show that in 2006 alone PETA euthanized 2981 animals and was
only able to adopt 12. That means that PETA "kills" 57 animals a week,
or 8 animals a day. In three weeks, PETA will kill more animals than
are reported to have died in the iditard in over 40 years. And will
kill more in one day than will die in two races. In fact less than 1%
of dogs in the iditarod will die, but over 80% of PETA animals will
die (official records show that over the last 8 years, PETA received
20,899 animals, adopted 3,059, and euthanized 17,400, that is 83% of
recieved animals are killed). Just maybe the critic should start
trying to fix this problem.
See http://www.petakillsanimals.com/ for this information.
Do your own research. If afterwords, you agree with the Sleddog Action Coalition, then send in your own letter with your thoughts and comments.
If you dissagree, then again send in a letter with your thoughts and comments.
The only comments that are being delivered are those that present the ideas of a small few. Make up your own mind, and don't be a puppet.