Dog Funeral to Haunt Iditarod’s Start

PETA Will Mourn Five Dogs Killed During Last Year's Event

For Immediate Release:
February 27, 2018

David Perle 202-483-7382

Anchorage, AlaskaWhat:    Dressed in black, a group of PETA supporters will gather around five headstones—engraved with the name, age, and cause of death of each dog who died during the 2017 Iditarod—outside the 2018 Iditarod Ceremonial Start, with a second protest to follow outside the race’s Willow restart. The protests follow the Iditarod’s recent doping scandal and a musher’s revelation that trainers in the industry have killed “hundreds on top of hundreds” of dogs who were bred for the race but didn’t make the cut.

When:    Saturday, March 3, 9 a.m.

Where:    Ceremonial Start, Fourth Avenue and D Street, Anchorage

When:    Sunday, March 4, 1 p.m.

Where:    Willow Restart, 69 George Parks Hwy., Willow

“It’s only a matter of time until another dog chokes to death on her own vomit along the Iditarod trail,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA is calling for an end to this cruel race and its legacy of doping and culling—as well as the trail of dogs’ broken bodies that it’s left in its wake.”

More than 150 dogs have died in the Iditarod since it began, and those are just the reported deaths—this doesn’t include dogs who died immediately after the race, during training, or while chained to plastic barrels outside during the off-season. Recently, a whistleblower released disturbing photographs and video footage of reportedly dying puppies and sick, injured dogs at a kennel owned by “Iditarod royalty” Dallas Seavey, the four-time race champion at the center of the dog-doping scandal.

At the opening protests, PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—will be joined by Sled Dogs filmmaker Fern Levitt and three former Iditarod handlers-turned-whistleblowers. PETA members will also protest at the race’s finish line in Nome.

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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