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Meat on the hoof?!

With people today spending "billions" on the care and feeding of pets, it may be hard to imagine that although early European and American explorers to the Arctic came to recognize sled dogs as an essential method of transportation, the dogs were not often treated with care or compassion.

Sled dogs were considered "meat on the hoof" (or "paw" in this case) - to be used and then killed and eaten as food supplies dwindled. The faithful dogs were often stabbed, as not to waste precious ammunition - the weakest went first, becoming feed for the remaining dogs.

Dr. Frederick Cook carefully planned his trek to the North Pole - he would begin with 26 sled dogs, killing them off along the way to serve as extra food, and keep just 6 for the home stretch.

His rival, Robert Peary, was no better. On one of his excursions, he left with 42 sled dogs and returned with just one, and his march to the Pole left behind a trail of leaky fuel cans, smashed sledges, and the rigid carcasses of frozen dogs.

PICTURE: Well-cared-for dogs of the Arctic Quest Expedition.
Top: Solo and Kermit, Bottom: Bear (our favorite) and Hudson.

Click pictures for more information and credits.
Library: Sled Dogs, Exploration
Explorers, Inuit, Arctic
Links: Inuit, Cold Places, Arctic
News Story: 16 Dogs...4 Women...2 Sleds...
News Story: Yellowknife to Baffin Island!
Arctic Maps & Weather Reports

Double-click any unlinked word DICTIONARY: Just "double-click" any unlinked word on this page for the definition from Merriam-Webster's Student Electronic Dictionary at Word Central.
Arctic Library ARCTIC LIBRARY & GLOSSARY: Check this section for an index of the rest of the things you really need to know about the Arctic.
All sorts of Arctic Maps ARCTIC MAPS & WEATHER REPORTS: Maps of the Northwest Passage, explorers' routes, iceberg sources, Nunavut, the Arctic by treeline, temperature...
Links to related sites. ARCTIC LINKS: Even more information! Links to sites related to the Arctic and "Iceberg: the Story of the Throps and the Squallhoots".
A Guide to Arctic Sunrise and Sunset GUIDE TO ARCTIC SUNRISE & SUNSET: How much sunlight or darkness is there in the Arctic on each day of the year?

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