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Mushers Chase Prize Money While Dogs Pay the Ultimate
Price, Says Group
For Immediate Release:March 21, 2013
Contact:Kaitlynn Kelly 202-483-7382
Today, PETA sent a letter to Alaska Airlines President Brad
Tilden urging him to permanently pull the company's sponsorship of the cruel
and deadly Iditarod race in Alaska. PETA's letter comes in the wake of the 2013
race, in which a dog named Dorado suffocated after being buried in snow and
another named May was lost on the trail and missing for six days. In the
letter, PETA points out that just since 2005, at least 21 dogs have died in the
race, including a dog named Kate, who died of injuries after she was allegedly
beaten by her musher. In the Iditarod's sordid 41-year history, more than 140
dogs have died and countless others have been seriously injured.
"The proof is in 41 years of suffering and death: The
only way to make the Iditarod safe for dogs is to cancel it permanently,"
says PETA Senior Vice President of Cruelty Investigations Daphna Nachminovitch.
"While mushers are consumed with chasing the cash prize and Alaska
Airlines and other sponsors' money, it's the dogs who pay the ultimate price."
Dogs forced to run the grueling Iditarod commonly endure
bloodied paws, lung damage, and bleeding ulcers, among other conditions.
Because of its inherent cruelty, the Iditarod has steadily lost sponsors over
the years, including Nestlé, Rite Aid, Panasonic, Safeway, Maxwell House, True
Value Hardware, BP, Sherwin-Williams, Upjohn, Tropicana, Pizza Hut, Costco, and
For more information, please visit PETA.org.
PETA's letter to Alaska Airlines President Brad Tilden
March 21, 2013
Brad Tilden, PresidentAlaska Airlines
Dear Mr. Tilden,
We are writing on behalf of PETA and our more than 3 million
members and supporters to ask you to discontinue your sponsorship of the
Iditarod. Supporting an event in which dogs routinely suffer and die cannot be
The Iditarod's 1,000-plus-mile course means that dogs run
about 100 miles a day for 10 days straight. The official Iditarod rules require
that the dogs be provided with only 40 hours of rest—during the entire race.
Dogs are subjected to biting winds, blinding
snowstorms, and falls through treacherous ice into frigid water. Their feet
become bruised, bloodied, and just plain worn out because of the vast distances
they cover. Many dogs pull muscles, or become sick with diarrhea, dehydration,
intestinal viruses, or bleeding stomach ulcers. "Overdriving"
or "overworking" an animal is considered a violation of
cruelty-to-animals laws in most states—but not in Alaska.
Just last week, a dog named Dorado suffocated after being buried
in snow at a drop checkpoint. A dog named May was lost on the trail and missing
for six days. At least 21 dogs have died just since
2005, including 3-year-old Kate, who was allegedly beaten and kicked
by her musher because she sat down and refused to get up; Thong, a 3-year-old
male, who apparently died of acute pneumonia; and Snickers, a 6-year-old
female, who died from an acute hemorrhage caused by a gastric ulcer. Rule
42 of the official Iditarod rules blithely dismisses some deaths as
On average, more than half the
dogs who start the race don't make it across the finish
line. According to a report published in the American Journal of
Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, 81 percent of those who do finish
have lung damage.
We hope you'll agree that Alaska Airlines should not be
supporting a race in which dogs are put at risk and routinely pay with their
lives. May we hear that you've decided to make the ethical business decision to
pull your sponsorship as many other companies have already done? Thank you for
David ByerSenior Corporate Liaison
Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.