There are lots of debates about sled dogs in general, and sooner or later it comes down to them being chained and confined to a dog house for hours on end.
I have more than an acre of fenced ground for my dogs to do whatever they want. They are never chained, but I find them in their straw lined houses more often than not. If their needs are being met with exercise, love, and the basic necessities they are quite content.
A lot of folks put their dogs inside indoor kennels while they are at work for hours on end, or chain them in the backyard.
Does that mean they are not being mistreated because they are not sled dogs? I would suggest that a dog locked up in an indoor kennel for more than 8 hours is being subjected to much worse than a working sled dog. Or an urban dog chained and forgotten is even worse.
Musher’s care for their dogs at a high level because they rely on those dogs. They may race but in that environment anything can happen…they need those dogs to get them back home, maybe even to live another day.
To say that they don’t is equivalent to you punching holes in your only spare tire with an icepick before you travel through the worst storm you’ve ever seen.
You would be an idiot to trust your life to dogs that are not well maintained and happy with you at the controls.