Iditarod ‘Tradition’ Is Dead Dogs, Blare PETA-Plastered Buses

For Immediate Release:
February 11, 2022

Contact:
David Perle 202-483-7382

Anchorage, Alaska – To mark the 50th anniversary of the Iditarod, PETA is plastering area buses with messages pointing out that the leading cause of death for dogs on the Iditarod trail is aspiration pneumonia—the result of inhaling their own vomit—and is calling for an end to the race. The ads show a thin, freezing dog chained on property owned by Iditarod musher Mitch Seavey.

PETA’s undercover investigation into mushers’ “kennels” revealed that arthritic, crippled, and injured dogs were denied veterinary care; chained dogs had worn-down, raw, and bloody paw pads from frantically running in tight circles around the plastic barrels that were their only “shelter” in below-freezing cold; and dogs were dragged and injured, even killed, during training.

“It’s unconscionable that in this day and age, the Iditarod is still running dogs literally into the ground,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “No prize is worth a dog’s life, and PETA is pointing out that the best way to mark five decades of this shameful spectacle is to relegate it to the history books.”

More than 150 dogs have died during the Iditarod since it began. Many more have been killed during the off-season because they weren’t fast or fit enough to make the grade. Up to half of the dogs who start the race don’t finish it, and during the 2021 race, nearly 200 dogs were pulled off the trail because of exhaustion, illness, injury, or other causes, leaving the remaining ones to work even harder.

After PETA campaigns, Millennium Hotels and Resorts dropped its support of the Iditarod just this week, following the lead of Jack Daniel’s, Coca-Cola, Wells Fargo, and Alaska Airlines. ExxonMobil, formerly a major Iditarod sponsor giving $250,000 a year, confirmed that 2021 was the last year it would support the race. Craft Sportswear, Medical Park Family Care, Artisan Travel, and Anchorage Distillery have also cut ties.

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 PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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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