PETA Statement: How Many Mushers Are Doping Dogs?

For Immediate Release:
October 24, 2017

David Perle 202-483-7382

Wasilla, Alaska – Below, please find a statement from PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman in response to reports that dogs used by Dallas Seavey—third-generation Iditarod musher and four-time champion—tested positive for the banned opioid tramadol:

Just as the film Blackfish burst SeaWorld’s bubble of displaying “happy” orcas, so the documentary Sled Dogs revealed that dogs have bloody paws and are desperately sick from infections while racing—leading us to ask that if a member of the Iditarod’s “royalty” dopes dogs, how many other mushers are turning to opioids in order to force dogs to push through the pain? And what about an investigation into where this controlled substance came from, whether a veterinarian or not? Dogs are not sleds. They are sensitive beings who do not deserve to be run to their deaths. Mushers are pushing dogs to the brink and beyond for a cash prize, and this doping scandal is further proof that this race needs to end.

PETA’s motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment,” and more information is available at

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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