Vancouver Humane Society urges Whistler Film Festival to resist pressure to withdraw sled dog film
VANCOUVER, Dec. 1, 2016 – The Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) is urging the Whistler Film Festival to resist calls from the sled dog industry to withdraw a documentary questioning the treatment of dogs within the industry. The film, Sled Dogs, is set to premiere at the festival this Saturday.
According to media reports, the festival has received letters from lawyers calling for the film to be withdrawn and has attracted opposition on social media. VHS, which was interviewed for the film, says it’s important that people see what the documentary reveals and make up their own minds.
“This is a matter of free speech,” said VHS spokesman Peter Fricker. “The plight of dogs used in this industry needs to be exposed. We hope the festival will not succumb to pressure to silence those who question the treatment of sled dogs.”
VHS campaigned for a ban on sled dog tours and races in 2011, following revelations that dozens of sled dogs belonging to a Whistler tour company had been brutally killed. Despite public outrage, new regulations introduced by the B.C. government did not end the industry practice of tethering dogs for long periods and it remains legal to kill dogs by gunshot.