For Immediate Release:
May 1, 2023
David Perle 202-483-7382
Beverly Hills, Calif. – A heavy security presence at the Milken Institute Global Conference at the Beverly Hilton couldn’t prevent PETA supporters from crashing Liberty Media Corporation CEO Greg Maffei’s invitation-only breakfast talk at the event and delivering a heartfelt appeal that he 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. Highflyers attending the conference who were also privy to PETA’s plea included former National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins, who is in hot water over the agency’s unmonitored use of primates in experiments, as well as Saudi Arabian government officials and singer John Legend. Video footage and photos of the disruption are available here.
Alaska Airlines, Chrysler, Coca-Cola, Jack Daniel’s, Wells Fargo, and ExxonMobil, and many other companies have all 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 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 also owns stock in Liberty Broadband, 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.”