A former Olympian has joined the chorus of voices calling for the end to Sochi's stray dog cull in preparation for and during the Olympic Games. Olympic basketball medalist, Charles Thomas McMillen, wrote a letter to to Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee, invoking the organization's "social responsibility and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles."
McMillen, who was also a Rhodes Scholar and Maryland Congressman, joined up with The Humane Society of the United States (of which he is a member of the board) to deliver the letter.
In the last few days I've learned to my great horror of the mass killing of street dogs in a misguided attempt to "clean up" Sochi in preparation for the games. I have also heard reports that the government hired a private "killing" company to exterminate what spokespersons called "biological trash." Mass dog extermination programs as part of Olympic preparations stand in stark contrast to Olympian values. The socially responsible and ethical way forward is to adopt and implement easily available humane methods rather than hunting down and poisoning these animals as all the world watches. Just as Olympic athletes became role models for billions of young people, so do host countries' preparations serve as examples for future Olympic venues to follow.