For Immediate Release:
February 13, 2023
David Perle 202-483-7382
Anchorage, Alaska – With the Iditarod’s start only weeks away, PETA is launching full-page appeals today in the Anchorage Daily News and the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner and hitting local radio stations with a 15-second warning from an Alaskan: Dogs are kept chained to dilapidated boxes or plastic barrels in the bitter cold when they’re not forced to run the deadly race. The newspaper pleas show a thin, freezing dog chained on property owned by notorious Iditarod musher Mitch Seavey.
“Dogs used and abused in the Iditarod have the same needs as the dogs who share our homes, yet they’re chained up like bicycles, made to suffer in freezing weather, then pushed to race until their bodies break down,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “As PETA alerts more people to the number of dogs who have died along this thousand-mile trail, the Iditarod will soon have no choice but to call its final race.”
Dogs in the Iditarod are forced to run about four marathons a day for up to two weeks through snow, ice, and wind. Last year, nearly 250 dogs were pulled off the trail because of exhaustion, illness, injury, or other causes, forcing the remaining ones to work even harder. Since the race began, more than 150 dogs have died in the Iditarod, with aspiration pneumonia (i.e., inhaling their own vomit) the number one cause of death. This official death toll doesn’t include countless others who were killed simply because they weren’t fast enough or who died during the off-season while chained.
PETA notes that an increasing number of sponsors are cutting ties, including Alaska Airlines, ExxonMobil, Jack Daniel’s, Coca-Cola, Wells Fargo, and Millennium Hotels and Resorts—and musher enrollment is at an all-time low. In recent weeks, local healthcare companies Capstone Clinic and Greenbrook TMS Centers of Alaska ended their Iditarod sponsorships.
The spot will run until February 24 on KASH-FM, KBFX-FM, KGOT-FM, and KYMG-FM in Anchorage and on KAKQ-FM, KIAK-FM, and KKED-FM in Fairbanks. PETA’s ad blitz will also land at Juneau International Airport with an “Adore Alaska. Hate the Iditarod” message in the lead-up to the race.
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, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.