For Immediate Release:
June 12, 2023
David Perle 202-483-7382
New York – Earlier today, PETA supporters “joined” Lewis Hamilton’s panel during the 2023 Forbes Iconoclast Summit at Pier 60 and issued a heartfelt appeal to the vegan athlete and devoted dog dad to speak out against Formula 1’s ties to the Iditarod, a grueling 1,000-mile dog-sled race in Alaska in which more than 150 dogs have died, garnering a thumbs-up from Hamilton. Formula 1’s owner, Liberty Media, still supports this cruel race via its subsidiary GCI’s $250,000-per-year sponsorship—and protesters want Hamilton to use his platform to call for the sponsorship to be pulled. Video footage and photos of the “plead-in” are available here.
“Formula 1 athletes choose to compete, but no dog chooses to run four marathons a day for up to two weeks through snow, ice, and harsh winds, the ‘reward’ for many being death,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “Lewis Hamilton can be a powerful advocate for these dogs, who desperately need his voice, and PETA is urging him to demand an end to GCI’s harmful sponsorship.”
Up to half the dogs who start the Iditarod don’t finish it. During this year’s race—which had the smallest field of mushers in the event’s history—approximately 175 dogs were pulled off the trail due to exhaustion, illness, injury, or other causes, leaving the remaining ones to work even harder. The race ended in controversy after the winner was caught on video dragging exhausted dogs toward a checkpoint.
The leading cause of death for dogs in the Iditarod is aspiration pneumonia—caused by inhaling their own vomit—and 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 next to dilapidated boxes or plastic barrels in the bitter cold, a practice exposed in a PETA undercover investigation.
Alaska Airlines, Chrysler, Coca-Cola, Jack Daniel’s, Wells Fargo, ExxonMobil, and many other companies have cut ties with the Iditarod after learning from PETA how dogs suffer and die because of the race.
PETA opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview, and its motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment.” For more information about PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit PETA.org, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.