PETA Statement: Iditarod Mushers Punished for Going Against the Rules to Protect Dogs

For Immediate Release:
March 25, 2022

David Perle 202-483-7382

Anchorage, Alaska – Below, please find a statement from PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman in response to the Iditarod’s decision to fine mushers thousands of dollars as a penalty for sheltering dogs from a dangerous windstorm:

Nothing makes it clearer that this death race must end than the fact that the Iditarod slapped mushers with a fine as punishment for acting to prevent dogs’ deaths or that its “winner” Brent Sass allowed his dogs’ eyes to freeze shut during a similar windstorm. PETA is calling for cruelty charges against any mushers who left their dogs out in the storm while they stayed warm and cozy inside. Cruelty is baked into this deadly race, and it’s time for it to stop.

PETA notes that chaos and cruelty abounded in this year’s Iditarod. Nearly 250 dogs were pulled from the race, two dogs went missing, a musher was apparently forced out of the race after dogs he used were found in poor condition, and dogs were attacked and one was killed during training before the race even began.

This year, Millennium Hotels and Resorts and Nutanix joined ExxonMobil—a former major sponsor that had paid the race $250,000 a year—as well as Jack Daniel’s, Coca-Cola, Wells Fargo, Alaska Airlines, and 14 other companies that have cut ties with the Iditarod. Only a few major corporate sponsors, such as Liberty Media subsidiary GCI, remain—and PETA recently bought stock in Liberty Broadband to push it to drop its sponsorship.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information on PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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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