Thursday, February 10, 2011

Old Yeller x 1 Million

Trigger warning, This story was just about one of the hardest things I have ever had to read about and comes close to making me physically ill.

Over the course of the winter Olympics in Vancouver,  many industries contingent on the tourism boom flourished and prospered. Many of these were shut down afterward, since the slackening demand makes it too unprofitable to continue running. Although I had seen posters denouncing the evils of things like circuses and other places that employ animals, I had never considered the actual reality of that world; the immense cost to keep animals that means any slight dip in revenue causes a large loss very quickly. When one sledding company in Whistler B.C experienced the post-Olympic drop, it found it was saddled with about a hundred dogs that were expensive to keep and care for.

With typical business thinking, the company noticed they were losing money, and since that is a mortal sin, they decided to get rid of the dogs. The reports all use the phrase "euthanize" but that is offensive to people who support doctor assisted suicide by implying the two scenarios are similar in any respect. The death of these dogs was needless and cruel. It would have gone unnoticed had the worker who was responsible for the killings not filled a workman's compensation claim for post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) because the executions were so gruesome (there are plenty of details about them online - I will only say that it did not go smoothly).

I genuinely believe the worker should receive the psychiatric treatment he has requested: In prison. If he is unwilling to own up to the fact that he brutally, needlessly, killed around one hundred animals, then he should be left to his own devices, not subsidized for lacking the backbone to refuse to kill one hundred animals he  has allegedly raised himself. Especially when a veterinarian they had approached to humanely put the dogs to sleep refused, saying he would not kill healthy animals. Perhaps that should have been a sign to call authorities.

It is a problem in our society when people who are told to do something by their jobs just shrug off their moral convictions and do whatever. Back when Milgram first conducted his experiment on obedience, he found a large percentage (over half) would punish a helpless "volunteer" up to the point of death because they had been told to do so by a scientist. It has been theorized that if we somehow were to obtain clearance for a similar study now,  we would find an even higher proportion willing to do anything as long as they are able to pass the blame on to someone else.

Needless the say, the company should also be held accountable. Each party should bear the complete burden of guilt,  accompanied by whatever compensation they should be billed for. The only good that has come from this is that I have no doubt many people in Canada, such as myself, will think twice before participating in any business that incorporates animals unless we can be certain the animals are humanely taken care of. We like to assume a regulatory body has a tight hold on animal cruelty cases like this, which should be easily monitored given the fact that it was a business, but it seems we were too naive.

With a lighter note to end on, Bill C-389 has passed the second reading and on to the house of Senate! It gives me warm fuzzies to know we are making progress in this area.

1 comment:

Andreanna said...

Of course this comes AFTER we already signed up and payed for a dog sledding trip.

Am I a bad person for saying I still want to go?