The Yukon Quest 2022
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February 26 2022: So once again the Yukon Quest is over and once again American Iditarod musher Brent Sass won the race. Again. Apparently this is Brent’s second Quest victory this year, finishing first on the Yukon Quest 550 held in Alaska two weeks ago. I think this is his fourth or fifth time congratulating himself as winner. Honestly I don't know why they call it the Yukon Quest since most of the mushers are American. They should just rename the race the Yukon/Iditarod Death Race since the mushers are mainly American and at least 40 sled dogs have died in it.
As far as I know no dogs died in this year's shortened races – but then again you can never really tell because many deaths go unreported. Dogs get abandoned on the trail or succumb to injuries and end up in the sled bag or get culled after the race. We never hear what happened to the dogs that get dropped at the check stops - but one way or another the dogs end up paying. The dogs that are still with us can now go back to life on the end of a 4-foot chain. The life of a northern sled dog is dismal at best.
I might also note that Sass’s dogs were gouging their necks into the snow and rolling on their backs from harness burn at the finish line as handlers ran around shoving pieces of meat into their mouths so they look happy and don’t roll in the ice. That always happens. It’s also common to see dogs tearing at their boots because they are cinched on too tight or conversely, dogs with no boots who have just been forced to run barefoot over sharp ice for a few hundred miles.
So the usual scene at the finish line – exhausted dogs with ears wilted as the winner props them up at the finish line for that all-important photo op. They’re planning to return the race to a distance of one thousand miles again in 2023.
On the upside I met with our Yukon Member of Parliament Dr. Brendan Hanley this week to discuss animal rights and the lack of effective animal protection legislation here in the Yukon and across Canada. It was a short but productive meeting in which some important information was exchanged and there is a plan to arrange for a second meeting in the near future. Perhaps there’s some hope. I’d like to think so.
View my latest petition update posted on May 26 2022 at: https://www.change.org/p/the-yukon-government-premier-sled-dogs-are-being-run-to-death-and-maimed-for-life-in-deadly-1-000-mile-yukon-quest-race/u/30595884
Read more: https://www.yukonpoetlaureate.com/2022/