Masked ‘Dogs’ to Protest Iditarod’s Start

PETA Will Point to Dogs' Suffering and Deaths on—and off—the Race Trail

For Immediate Release:
March 6, 2020

Moira Colley 202-483-7382

Anchorage, Alaska – At the ceremonial start of the Iditarod on Saturday, PETA members wearing three-dimensional husky masks will brandish signs proclaiming, “150+ Dogs Have Died. Am I Next?” and “Pull Your Own Damned Sled.”

When:    Saturday, March 7, 9 a.m.

Where:    Ceremonial start, at the intersection of Fourth Avenue and D Street, Anchorage

“When they’re not being run to injury, exhaustion, and death on the Iditarod trail, dogs are tied up in the snow with nothing to do but run in tight circles until their paws bleed,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “These dogs are no different from those who live in our homes with us, and PETA is calling for this cruel race to end.”

Last year, rookie musher Richie Beattie dragged a dog named Oshi back over to the towline so that she would “finish” the race before dying the next day of aspiration pneumonia—the most common cause of death for dogs in the Iditarod—likely from inhaling her own vomit. The same year, a first-of-its-kind PETA undercover investigation of two former Iditarod champion mushers’ kennels revealed that dogs were denied veterinary care for painful injuries, kept constantly chained next to dilapidated boxes and plastic barrels in the bitter cold and biting wind, and forced to run even when they were exhausted and dehydrated.

PETA will also screen the damning documentary Sled Dogs at the Z.J. Loussac Library (at 3600 Denali St.) at 4 p.m. on Saturday.

In addition, the group will protest at the Willow restart event on Sunday at 1 p.m.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit

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