Members of an industry given a black eye by the slaughter of sled dogs after the Olympics gathered for the first time Monday.

The newly formed Professional Mushers Association of B.C. - the formation of which was a recommendation of the Sled Dog Task Force formed in the aftermath of the slaughter - held its inaugural meeting in Kamloops.

Monday's meeting was hosted by the provincial government.

"Our association sees this meeting as one of the major steps in ensuring that the best interest of the dogs always comes first," said Tim Tedford, a Kelowna musher who runs dogsled tours.

Association members met for a planning workshop to share information and to discuss governance, direction and views.

One of the objectives is to lead the industry in establishing and maintaining standards for kennel guidelines, animal care and mandatory operator guidelines in B.C.

"As chair of the Sled Dog Task Force, I'm pleased the Professional Mushers Association of B.C. has started work on their mandate," Kamloops MLA Terry Lake stated in a press release. The group will serve to provide certification and auditing as well as public and professional education, he added.

Premier Christy Clark announced in April that all 10 of the task force recommendations would be acted upon. Earlier in the year, B.C. legislation was amended to render the toughest animal cruelty laws in Canada through higher penalties and greater accountability.

3/28/2012 03:53:17 am

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7/14/2012 11:40:30 am

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