PETA to City: Reject Iditarod’s ‘Offensive’ $100,000 Request

For Immediate Release:
April 28, 2021

Contact:
David Perle 202-483-7382

Nome, Alaska – This morning, PETA sent a letter to Nome Mayor John K. Handeland and the members of the Nome City Council urging them to decline the Iditarod’s request for $100,000—10 times the city’s typical sponsorship—to hold next year’s race while the city is under fire for a lack of clean water and vital community services as well as a high unemployment rate.

PETA explains that the world has woken up to the fact that more than 150 dogs have died as a result of the Iditarod and hundreds of dogs are pulled from the race every year after being pushed to their breaking point, so the event is seeing its former sponsors—including ExxonMobil, which gave $250,000 annually—want nothing to do with the cruel spectacle.

“It’s offensive to ask Nome to spend more money propping up the Iditarod than it spends on preschools or housing the homeless,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA urges the city to invest in its residents instead of funneling funding into a sinking spectacle that runs dogs to their deaths.”

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 PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

PETA’s letter to Handeland and the members of the Nome City Council follows.

April 28, 2021

The Honorable John K. Handeland, Mayor of Nome

Nome City Council

Dear Mayor Handeland and Council Members:

I’m writing on behalf of PETA and our more than 6.5 million members and supporters worldwide regarding the Iditarod’s request for $100,000 from the city of Nome—10 times the city’s typical sponsorship while money is urgently needed to bolster public programs. That amount equals your combined allocations last year of $5,000 for employment security unemployment, $65,000 for the Nome Preschool Association, and $30,000 for Nome Emergency Shelter.

It’s outrageous to suggest that any city should give more money to this literally dying event, but the request is especially offensive when there are so many programs in need of resources in your community, from suicide prevention to improving the availability and quality of drinking water to reducing unemployment.

There are good reasons why numerous companies have dropped their Iditarod sponsorships. These include ExxonMobil—which previously gave $250,000 annually—as well as Alaska Airlines, Chrysler, and even Alaska-based companies Anchorage Distillery and Medical Park Family Care. The world has woken up to the fact that more than 150 dogs have died as a result of the race, not even counting those who died during the off-season while chained up outside in subfreezing conditions with little to no shelter or those who were summarily killed because they didn’t make the cut. People have learned that dogs used in the Iditarod are forced to pull heavy sleds for 1,000 miles in under two weeks while being subjected to biting winds, blinding snowstorms, and subzero temperatures.

In your city, residents are asking for help to remedy poor housing and public infrastructure, a lack of recycling opportunities, and other issues that are in need of funding. It’s unimaginable that the budget would be used, instead, to prop up such a sinking, abusive spectacle.

In the midst of the global pandemic and growing awareness of inequality, people and cities are examining how they can be more responsible with their resources and more empathetic. For most organizations, this societal reckoning includes reflecting on all the deeply disturbing ways in which animals are used. In that vein, we hope you will choose not to sponsor the Iditarod. Thank you for your consideration.

Very truly yours,

Tracy Reiman

Executive Vice President

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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