For Immediate Release:
May 8, 2022
Megan Wiltsie 202-483-7382
Miami, Fla. – On your mark! Get set! “Stop Sponsoring the Deadly Iditarod!” That’s the message that PETA supporters unfurled today with a banner drop at the Formula One (F1) race starting line, right as the drivers took off. It’s the latest in a push for F1’s owner, Liberty Media, to stop sponsoring—through the company’s Alaska-based subsidiary GCI—the controversial dog-sled race, in which more than 150 dogs have died. Photos and video from the event are available here.
Each year, the Iditarod still receives more than $250,000 from GCI—an Alaskan telecommunications provider—even after losing major sponsors that no longer want to be associated with the deadly race, including ExxonMobil, Millennium Hotels and Resorts, Jack Daniel’s, Coca-Cola, Wells Fargo, and Alaska Airlines.
“Drivers choose to race in Formula One, but the Iditarod forces dogs to cross nearly 1,000 miles of ice and wind, running some to their deaths,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA is calling on everyone, from mechanics to team principles to drivers, to stand up for these dogs and get Liberty to hit the brakes on this disgraceful sponsorship.”
Nearly 250 dogs were pulled from the trail this year due to exhaustion, illness, or injury, leaving the remaining ones to work even harder to pull the mushers. The Iditarod’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 to dilapidated boxes or plastic barrels in the bitter cold, a practice exposed by a PETA undercover investigation.
PETA’s campaign against Liberty Media has included enlisting a pack of its supporters to wear husky masks and howl outside the company’s headquarters, purchasing stock in order to exert pressure at Liberty’s annual meetings, and sending a dead dog prop to F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali along with a letter urging him to tell Liberty to cut ties with the event.
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview.