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Dog sled tour operator defends industry in wake of critical documentary

The owner of a Banff dog sledding company defends her industry in response to a new documentary that argues that dog sledding is inhumane, saying her huskies "have been bred to do this, and this is what they love to do."

'This is what they love to do,' says Megan Routley of Kingmik Dog Sled Tours

Megan Routley, owner of Kingmik Dog Sled Tours, says it's not fair to conclude all dog sledding outfits mistreat their animals on the basis of evidence that some do. (CBC)

The owner of a dog sledding company that runs tours in Banff National Park is defending her industry in response to a new documentary that argues that dog sledding is inhumane.

The film Sled Dog, which debuted at the Whistler Film Festival earlier this month, says that for-profit mushing should stop.

But Megan Routley, who owns Kingmik Dog Sled Tours, says her dogs love what they do.

The director of Sled Dogs says for-profit dog sledding is inhumane and should end. (CBC)

"The Alaskan husky is genetically programmed to do this," Routley said.

"They've been bred to do this and this is what they love to do, such as a border collie loves to herd sheep. These dogs love to run and pull," she said.

But Fern Levitt, who directed Sled Dogs, says for-profit dog sledding should end.

"They're not working dogs. They're dogs that are there to make people money," Levitt said.

She says it's inhumane to keep the dogs either chained up or in kennels most of the time.

"It goes against their very needs as animals," she said.

Megan Routley, who owns Kingmik Dog Sled Tours, says her dogs love what they do. (CBC)

Routley says she doesn't think it's fair to taint the entire industry because some mushers mistreat their animals.

"Yes, there are abominations in this industry which are horrifying and wrong," Routley said.

"The whole industry is definitely not an abomination," she added. 

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