Update: Iditarod officials have revealed that the musher whose dogs tested positive for opioids is four-time champion Dallas Seavey. (View pictures HERE) PETA released this statement from Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman: “Just as the film Blackfish burst SeaWorld’s bubble of displaying “happy” orcas, so the documentary Sled Dogs revealed that dogs have bloody paws and are desperately sick from infections while racing—leading us to ask that if a member of the Iditarod’s “royalty” dopes dogs, how many other mushers are turning to opioids in order to force dogs to push through the pain? And what about an investigation into where this controlled substance came from, whether a veterinarian or not? Dogs are not sleds. They are sensitive beings who do not deserve to be run to their deaths. Mushers are pushing dogs to the brink and beyond for a cash prize, and this doping scandal is further proof that this race needs to end.”
Originally published on October 20, 2017:
More disturbing details are coming out about someone in the 2017 Iditarod dogsled race drugging dogs. News outlets report that a team of dogs tested positive for tramadol, a Class IV opioid used to manage severe pain. The dogs forced to pull sleds nearly 1,000 miles through the frozen Alaskan wilderness in this race often sustain paw injuries, strained muscles, stress fractures, stomach ulcers, damaged lungs, and other injuries—and some die. It’s no surprise that someone used the prohibited drug to mask their pain and force them to keep running.
PETA has contacted the Iditarod Trail Committee and urged it to strip all mushers found to have drugged dogs of their titles and awards. And because injuries and deaths in the cruel race are inevitable, we’re also renewing our call for the race to stop using dogs altogether and replace them with snowmobiles or willing human athletes, such as cross-country skiers.
Here’s the letter we sent to Stan Hooley, the CEO of the Iditarod Trail Committee:
Five dogs died in less than one week during this year’s Iditarod. It’s time for this deadly spectacle to end. Join PETA in calling on the Iditarod Trail Committee to replace the dogs with snowmobiles or willing human athletes to test human endurance, not the longevity of sick, drugged dogs.