Anti-Iditarod Ad Blitz Reveals Cold, Sick, Chained Dogs’ Suffering

PETA Bus Ads Expose Cruelty and Neglect on Mushers' Properties

For Immediate Release:
February 18, 2020

Contact:
David Perle 202-483-7382

Anchorage, Alaska – In the lead-up to the Iditarod, PETA is plastering People Mover buses downtown with ads illustrating why the deadly dog race is a disgrace that should end. The ads show images taken during PETA’s undercover investigation of champion mushers’ “kennels” and include a freezing dog chained on property owned by former Iditarod champion Mitch Seavey as well as two neglected dogs at Iditarod champion John Baker and musher Katherine Keith’s kennel.

PETA discovered that at Team Baker Kennel, Birch had sustained a crippling spinal cord injury that left her dragging her back legs. Snickers had suffered from painful arthritis for years—including when she led Baker’s team to victory in the 2011 Iditarod—but was kept chained up by the frozen sea, where she limped and cried out constantly. Baker was caught on video admitting that both dogs needed to be “put out of [their] misery,” but he refused to let PETA’s investigator obtain veterinary care for Birch because anyone who saw the dog would conclude that “we’re being real hard on ’em.” Dogs at Seavey’s facility were found with worn-down, raw, and bloody paw pads from frantically running in tight circles at the end of short metal chains.

“Dogs used for the Iditarod were denied veterinary care for painful injuries, kept constantly chained to broken boxes and barrels in the bitter cold and biting wind, and forced to run even when they were exhausted and dehydrated,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “No decent person could support a ‘sport’ that sentences social dogs to suffer at the end of a chain when they’re not being run to death on the Iditarod trail.”

More than 150 dogs have died on the trail, and those are only the reported deaths that occurred during the race. That number doesn’t include dogs who died during the off-season while chained up or were killed simply because they lacked the speed and stamina to make the grade. Last year, a dog named Oshi died after finishing the Iditarod. She’d inhaled her own vomit, which led to infection and tissue damage of the lungs.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“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

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind