COVID-19 Risk to Dogs and Humans at Iditarod, Warns Veterinarian

For Immediate Release:
December 22, 2020

David Perle 202-483-7382

Wasilla, Alaska – Following the announced rerouting of the Iditarod during the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Monica Bando, the PETA Foundation’s captive-wildlife veterinarian, sent an urgent letter this morning to Rob Urbach, CEO of the Iditarod Trail Committee, urging him to cancel the race because of the danger to public health.

The full letter is available here. Below, please find a statement from Dr. Bando:

Changing the course of the Iditarod won’t protect dogs from being infected with the novel coronavirus. If people from around the world gather in Anchorage, the danger of transmission will be high—and since dogs can’t socially distance and 81% of those who finish the race end up with lung damage even under normal circumstances, the result could be dire. PETA is calling on the Iditarod Trail Committee to cancel the race now for the safety of dogs and Alaskans alike.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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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