Having spent two blissful years as a resident of the Great White North, we still like to think Canada is the land of peaceful and humane living.
But consider the nation's terrible record on animals: the mass slaughter of baby seals for their fur, the horse slaughter plants where untold thousands of U.S. equines get shot and butchered for their meat every day, the mass puppy mills in Ontario and Quebec (a recent raid near Montreal found 500 dogs living in squalor) and the so-called PMU mares - inseminated for their urine which is used in hormone replacement drugs before they, and their foals, are cast off.
Now we hear of another animal atrocity: mass dog kills in the nation's northern reaches."Animal control"in the vast Canadian north, home to the majority of the country's native populations, consists mainly of rounding up stray dogs periodically and shooting them. In one case, a dog named Trooper was rescued too late. Somone had sprayed his head with a shotgun and his wounds were too severe to save him.
One Manitoba First Nations official argued that dogs like Trooper (shown above) pose a health issue and that such "culls" are necessary to protect humans. But animal welfare activists, who have rescued thousands of dogs from those remote communities, are calling for another approach: offering free and low cost spay/neuter services in First Nation communities.
Controlling packs of feral and stray dogs is an issue on U.S. Indian reservations too where populations in some places have reached crisis level. With little money for human services, there is virtually no help for animal populations and the wide open spaces give animals plenty of space to roam and reproduce adding to the problem.
More from the CBC on the state of Canada's northern canines here.