In the past 60 years, public authorities in Nunavik and Nunavut have tried to put in place measures to control what they perceived as the risks associated with dogs, and especially loose dogs, in Arctic settlements. These perceived risks have included, among others, the transmissions of zoonosis (i.e. rabies, parasites) to human populations, attacks on people as well as the propagation of canine diseases (i.e., canine parvovirus, hepatitis, distemper) among dogs. The measures adopted to control these perceived risks have included, among others, the vaccination of dogs, the slaughter of others (officially, only roaming and sick ones), and the obligation of tying them up. For public authorities, these measures have always been meant to control what they perceived as the risks associated with dogs in order to improve the security and public health of communities. For Inuit, these measures have often been perceived as not very useful, intrusive, and often downright inappropriate.
Yet, despite the adaptation and implementation of those measures, recent data seem to suggest that there are still incidents involving digs in Arctic settlements, and local people are not always comfortable with the measures imposed by public authorities. This situation has a wide variety of causes, among which the fact that public authorities’ implement measures that are not always adapted to the context of the Arctic or that have not been discussed with Inuit.
This project has two main objectives:
Networking: The network coordinate the present and future work of a great many current and future partners. Participants include stakeholders and decision-makers from Nunavik and Nunavut as well as social scientists and veterinarians. Stakeholders and decision-makers will be able to use this network to share their preoccupations regarding dogs amongst themselves and with researchers. They also participate in the establishment of the Network’s priorities and design of its research agenda.
Network participants meet once a year for a one or two day seminar where they will discuss their priorities and learn about activities from network members. Participants also take part in the establishment of the Network’s priorities and design of its research agenda.
Research: This project fund research projects that are deemed relevant by stakeholders and decision-makers. These projects will be developed after consultation with network participants.
It will give priority to projects that will (a) provide descriptions of dogs in Nunavut and Nunavik communities (types and number of dogs, risks associated with them, etc.), (b) describe local perceptions of dogs in Nunavut and Nunavik communities, and (c) help stakeholders and decision-makers make better decisions regarding the management of dog populations in their respective communities.