ExxonMobil Ends $250K Iditarod Sponsorship After PETA Campaign

Group Withdraws Shareholder Proposal, Pulls Planned ‘ExxonEvil’ Ad Blitz

For Immediate Release:
January 22, 2021

David Perle 202-483-7382

Irving, Texas

As reported by the Associated Press, following a vigorous PETA campaign, ExxonMobil has confirmed that its more than 40 years of support for the Iditarod—the notorious dogsled race in which more than 150 dogs have died, most commonly after inhaling their own vomit—is ending this year.

ExxonMobil has sponsored the Iditarod since 1978 and has given it $250,000 per year for the last several years alone. Its decision to cut ties with the race follows appeals from nearly 100,000 PETA supporters, “Closed for Cruelty” PETA protests outside dozens of gas stations and ExxonMobil’s Irving headquarters, and a billboard and bus ads, among other efforts.

In response, PETA has canceled upcoming ads—featuring a spoof “ExxonEvil” logo and a twist on the company’s “Tiger in Your Tank” campaign—it had planned to run in the Anchorage Daily News and the Texas edition of The Wall Street Journal next week, as well as a week of action that would have included more than a dozen protests across the country. After meeting with executives, PETA has also agreed to withdraw its 2021 shareholder resolution, which asked ExxonMobil to end all sponsorship of activities in which animals are exploited, harmed, or killed and was apparently the final straw for the company.

“PETA and kind people everywhere are cheering ExxonMobil’s decision to put the brakes on fueling cruelty to dogs,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “No reputable company wants to associate with a race that forces dogs to run until they collapse, and PETA is calling on the few remaining holdouts like Millennium Hotels and Resorts to cut ties with this spectacle of suffering.”

Dogs used in the Iditarod are forced to pull heavy sleds for nearly 1,000 miles through blinding blizzards and subzero temperatures. More than 220 dogs were pulled off the trail during the 2020 race because of exhaustion, illness, injury, or other causes. 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 up, a practice exposed in a PETA undercover investigation.

Last year, Alaska Airlines, Chrysler, and Baird Private Wealth Management joined Coca-Cola, Costco, Jack Daniel’s, and many other brands in cutting ties with the Iditarod following PETA campaigns.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview that fosters violence toward other animals. For more information, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram.

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