Irish SPCA’s Bizarre Fundraiser
I don't know of any SPCA that has a mission I'd give money to, and not because I don't care about animals, but because I believe I care more than they do. And that's not me being arrogant and self-righteous. It's a simple statement of fact that if I had an organization for animals, my interest in helping them would manifest in a mission that promoted veganism. And of course my fundraising events wouldn't include . . .
With temperatures falling as low as -30C the bond between man and dog becomes essential, and the real essence of teamwork is truly tested in this hostile environment. Participants each have their own sled pulled by a team of 4-6 huskies, looking after each other and becoming a powerful unit by the end of the challenge.
This event, for the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, centers on cruelty to animals. They'd go a long way to fulfilling their mission simply by not having this event!
What I don't want to hear about is how much huskies, or greyhounds, for that matter, love to run. Dogs love to run, that's true. But loving to run when you want to run, as far as you want to run, is a far cry from some man or woman tying you to other dogs and making you race in brutal conditions for up to 60km a day (here's the itinerary) in a place with 6-8 hours of daylight and an average temperature of -15C.
If you want to help huskies, and I assume the Irish SPCA does, adopt one from a shelter, give him a loving home and plenty of stimulation and opportunities to exercise. Using a dog for your own gain–or to raise money for other dogs–is bizarre conceptually. No matter where the race is held, or how long it is, there's simply no reason to use dogs for our own gain.
I clicked on a couple of links meant to send feedback, and they all ended up with me sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org . I'm going to send a letter, though I'm pretty sure it won't be printed on the Letters Page.
I'm curious. I plan fundraisers a couple of times a year and it's not an activity that anyone takes lightly. There's a lot of thought that goes into choosing the right venue and theme–one that will appeal to the majority of stakeholders. I can certainly see that some people still think dog sledding is appealing; the comments that flow in when I post on the Iditarod or the Yukon Quest demonstrate that. But to think that a majority of the stakeholders of an animal welfare organization would find a dog sledding event appealing as a fundraiser?
I don't get it. And that will be the thrust of my letter. There are endless options for fundraising that don't include using animals. The Irish SPCA's choice is incongruous, at best.
Thanks to Terry for this story.