For Immediate Release:
March 11, 2021
David Perle 202-483-7382
Wasilla, Alaska – Please see the following statement from PETA Vice President Colleen O’Brien in response to reports that veteran Iditarod musher Gunnar Johnson tested positive for COVID-19 and has been removed from the race:
PETA’s warning is coming true: Inspired by a relay to transport a vaccine nearly 100 years ago, the Iditarod is today spreading COVID-19. Dogs can carry the virus on their coats, and more than 60 dogs have already been pulled off the trail, likely because of illness, exhaustion, or injury, leaving the remaining ones to work even harder. In addition, since dogs can’t socially distance and 81% of those who finish the race end up with lung damage, the result of a positive COVID-19 test could be dire. PETA warned the Iditarod that the novel coronavirus can spread between species, but the reckless spectacle went on, proving once again that it lacks concern for the animals it puts at great risk.
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.