Dog owners who allowed their pets to participate in a weight-pulling competition over the weekend received violent threats from animal rights activists angered at an event in which dogs pulled sledges weighing nearly two tonnes.
“I am 178.6 km from your disgusting show, and I may come with a fire extinguisher filled with piss and spray it on you,” one owner was threatened, according to TVMIDTVEST.
The show, and the owners who allow their dogs to participate, have long been the target of outrage from animal lovers.
“I think it is a bit extreme to shout animal abuse without actually seeing the show or knowing what it is about,” said Monique Iversen, the organiser of the competition.
Instinct or cruelty?
One veterinarian denied the competition – which took place in Hvam, a small village between Holstebro and Vinderup – constituted animal cruelty and accused people of overreacting.
“If it is done under controlled conditions and the dogs are gradually trained and do it willingly,” said Vibeke Korup, a veterinarian at Holstebro Animal Hospital. “I do not see it as animal cruelty.”
The ‘tractor pull’ requiring the dogs to pull a two-tonne sled aroused the most indignation among those opposed to the sport – particularly because the dogs often howl while pulling.
“These dogs have been used as sledge dogs for centuries. It is in their breeding to pull,” said Korup.
Sarah Kaas Nielsen, an owner of one of the dogs in the competition, said that she continued to received messages and anonymous phone calls.
“They scream that I am an animal abuser and that they will come and bash me,” she said.
Nielsen said that despite the threats, she will continue to allow her dogs to take part in competitions.