The B.C. government and industry are taking another step toward strengthening animal welfare in British Columbia by providing oversight of the sled dog industry, when the Professional Mushers Association of BC meets for the first time last week.
Several association members are coming together today in Kamloops for an inaugural planning workshop to share information, and discuss the group’s governance, direction, and views. The session is jointly hosted by the Ministries of Agriculture and Jobs, Tourism, and Innovation.
The Professional Mushers Association of BC’s mandate is to:
* Join and network commercial sled dog tour operators in B.C. for the purpose of information exchange, professional support, and operator unity.
* Be leaders in establishing and maintaining standards for kennel guidelines, sled dog care, and mandatory operator guidelines in B.C.
* Inform and educate the government, as well as the public, on the working sled dog and professional tour operations in B.C.
Sled dog mushers’ proactive efforts to form this industry-led association complements a Sled Dog Task Force report recommendation that the sled dog industry be encouraged to develop a self-sustaining association that incorporates a certification and auditing program. On April 5, 2011,
Premier Christy Clark announced the province is acting on all 10 of the report’s recommendations.
Also earlier this year, B.C. amended legislation to give this province the toughest animal cruelty laws in Canada with higher penalties and greater accountability.