I feel obligated to respond to Michelle Sinnott’s letter, “End the Iditarod.” I am not a musher, but having covered 1,000 miles skijoring with a husky kindred spirit, I feel I have some insight into the relationship between dog and musher. That terrific, superb, smart skijoring dog was my partner. We understood each other. We took care of each other.
If a person hasn’t worked as a team with a dog, it’s hard to imagine they can understand the remarkable bond, respect and admiration that develops between dog and musher, both highly trained athletes who love to run. Each wants to please the other as they work as a team.
Throughout the years, the sled dog racing organizations and mushers’ communities have tremendously improved the living conditions and general welfare of racing dogs.
I haven’t seen that same dedication and results applied to the welfare of factory-farmed animals raised for our food. I would suggest that critics of the Iditarod race redirect their efforts to improve the inhumane mass feeding, substandard holding pens and cruel slaughtering practices of animals for consumption.
— Michel Villon
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