PETA to Tagish Iditarod Loser: We’ll Pay You to Become a Snowplow Operator Instead

Group Offers Musher a Chance to Set a New Course—Without Dogs

For Immediate Release:
March 25, 2022

Contact:
David Perle 202-483-7382

Whitehorse, Yukon Territory – After local musher Michelle Phillips came in 18th in the controversial Iditarod—a race that has lost dozens of sponsors due to dog deaths and mistreatment—PETA sent her a letter this morning offering to help pay for the cost of training and equipment so she can embark on a new, benign career such as snowplow operator, ski instructor, or park ranger, without exploiting dogs at all.

The request follows reports that during the race, Phillips left behind five dogs she had pushed beyond their limit, forcing the remaining ones to work even harder to pull her.

PETA notes that more than 150 dogs have died in the Iditarod since it began. In just this year’s event, two dogs went missing, a musher was apparently forced out of the race after the dogs he used were found in poor condition, and nearly 250 dogs were pulled off the trail due to exhaustion, illness, or injury. Before the race even started, dogs were attacked and one was killed during training.

“As more and more people reject the idea of a race that forces dogs to run to their deaths, being a musher is as irrelevant as being a VCR repairer,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA will help mushers kiss the Iditarod goodbye and move into a job no one despises anyone for doing.”

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.

PETA’s letter to Phillips follows.

March 25, 2022

Dear Ms. Phillips:

Since you missed out on the Iditarod’s top prize this year, I’m writing from PETA to suggest a career change. Now is the time to kiss the Iditarod goodbye and move into a job no one despises you for doing. PETA will even pay you to do it! We’ll help cover the costs of training, classes, equipment, and whatever else you may need to set a new course.

As condemnation of a race that forces dogs to run to their deaths grows and major companies like Alaska Airlines, Coca-Cola, Exxon Mobil, and Millennium Hotels and Resorts continue to drop their Iditarod sponsorships, being a musher is becoming as irrelevant as being a VCR repairer. Since you are an experienced cold-weather professional, opportunities abound: park ranger, ski instructor, or snowplow operator—all of which would allow you to continue working in the great outdoors. This doesn’t have to mean the end of your competitive racing career, either. For decades, athletes have been participating in the Iditarod Trail Invitational and Iron Dog races, which follow the historic Iditarod trail but feature only willing human participants.

Pursuing a new line of work would be a winning decision: You could make more money, and you wouldn’t be contributing to animal suffering, which is inherent in the Iditarod. During this year’s race, two dogs went missing, a musher was apparently forced out of the race after the dogs he used were found in poor condition, dogs were attacked and one was killed during training before the race even began, and nearly 250 dogs were pulled off the trail due to exhaustion, illness, or injury.

It’s time to embark on a different path, and we’re here to help. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely,

Tracy Reiman
Executive Vice President

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