Breaking: Protesters Break Into Leno-Maffei Meeting to Plead for an End to Deadly Dog-Sled Race Sponsorship

For Immediate Release:
May 4, 2023

David Perle 202-483-7382


A heavy security presence at the F1 Accelerate Summit at the Rubell Museum didn’t prevent PETA supporters from crashing the event’s kick-off ceremony this morning. As Jay Leno gave opening remarks, with Liberty Media Corporation CEO Greg Maffei and Formula 1 President Stefano Domenicali listening, PETA supporters who had penetrated the VIP event rose and issued a heartfelt appeal for Maffei to end his company’s support of the deadly Iditarod, a grueling 1,000-mile dog-sled race in Alaska in which more than 150 dogs have died. Video footage and photos of the “plead-in”—which follows a similar one earlier this week at an event in Beverly Hills, California, that hosted Maffei as a speaker—are available here.

Alaska Airlines, Chrysler, Coca-Cola, Jack Daniel’s, Wells Fargo, ExxonMobil, and many other companies cut ties with the Iditarod after learning from PETA how dogs suffer and die because of the race, but Liberty subsidiary GCI, an internet service provider, is still sponsoring the notorious event to the tune of more than $250,000 every year.

“Greg Maffei heads a company that forces dogs to run until their paws bleed and their bodies give out, and they even die after inhaling their own vomit, with 150 dead dogs and counting,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA is pleading with Liberty Media to stop propping up this despicably cruel dog race right now.”

Up to half the dogs who start the Iditarod don’t finish it. During this year’s race—which had the smallest field of mushers in the event’s history—approximately 175 dogs were pulled off the trail due to exhaustion, illness, injury, or other causes, leaving the remaining ones to work even harder. The race ended in controversy after the winner was caught on video dragging exhausted dogs toward a checkpoint.

The leading cause of death for dogs in the Iditarod is aspiration pneumonia—caused by inhaling their own vomit—and the race’s official death toll doesn’t include countless others who were killed simply because they weren’t fast enough or who died during the off-season while chained next to dilapidated boxes or plastic barrels in the bitter cold, a practice exposed in a PETA undercover investigation.

PETA—which owns stock in F1, part of the Liberty family of companies—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview, and its motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment.”

For more information about PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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