PETA Says Deaths Can’t Be Left Out of Dogsledding Game

The Red Lantern Has a 'Dogs Always Live' Setting That Hides the Iditarod's 150+ Dog Death Toll, and That's Dishonest, Says Group

For Immediate Release:
October 26, 2020

David Perle 202-483-7382

Norfolk, Va. – Today, PETA sent a letter asking Timberline Studio, the maker of dogsledding game The Red Lantern—which gets its name from the Iditarod dogsled race—to get real by removing the “Dogs Always Live” setting, which it added following a public outcry over the depiction of a dog’s death in an early trailer.

“The Iditarod forces dogs to run so far, so fast, that their paws bleed, their bodies break down, and some die after inhaling their own vomit,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “Dogsledding is a blood sport in which dogs are exploited, trained harshly, and often killed—sometimes by being shot just because they’re not fast enough—and The Red Lantern should not sanitize or sugarcoat that cruelty.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment or abuse in any other way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, visit or follow the group on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram.

PETA’s letter to Lindsey Rostal, cofounder, CEO, and game director of Timberline Studio, follows.

October 26, 2020

Lindsey Rostal

Cofounder, CEO, and Game Director

Timberline Studio

Dear Ms. Rostal:

I’m writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and our more than 6.5 million members and supporters worldwide regarding the release of The Red Lantern and its setting to “turn off” dog deaths, following a public outcry over the death of a dog in one of the game’s early trailers. In the real Iditarod race, after which the game is named, you can’t simply turn off dog deaths, and there’s never an option in which “Dogs Always Live.” If Timberline Studio is determined to promote the extremely cruel dogsledding industry, we urge you to make it realistic by not allowing users to turn off what dogs actually endure in these races.

To date, more than 150 dogs have died in the Iditarod. It’s well documented that they are subjected to biting winds, blinding snowstorms, and subzero temperatures. They also often sustain stress fractures and become afflicted with diarrhea, dehydration, intestinal viruses, pneumonia, bleeding ulcers, and other health issues. During this year’s race, at least 220 dogs—suffering from mishaps, exhaustion, illness, or injury—were pulled off the trail, including a senior dog named Cool Cat who developed twisted intestines.

One day after crossing the finish line last year, Oshi died from aspiration pneumonia—likely from inhaling her own vomit—the leading cause of dog deaths in this race. Innumerable other dogs have died during the off-season while chained up outside in subzero temperatures like bicycles. Other dogs were shot or bludgeoned to death because they didn’t make the grade. All this has been amply documented and is available for your review.

A PETA investigator worked at two kennels owned by former Iditarod champions. He witnessed dogs who were denied veterinary care for painful injuries, kept constantly chained to dilapidated boxes and barrels in the bitter cold, and forced to run even when exhausted and dehydrated.

In the midst of the global pandemic and growing awareness of injustice to others, people are searching their souls and examining their impact on society. For most companies, this societal reckoning includes reflecting on all the deeply disturbing ways in which animals are still being harmed and killed. We hope you will take an honest look at The Red Lanternsee how it glorifies animal abuse generally and specifically how the “Dogs Always Live” feature misleads players into thinking that dogsledding isn’t the blood sport that it really is.

Very truly yours,

Ingrid E. Newkirk


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