Report of Hundreds of Iditarod Dogs Killed Prompts Complaint

PETA Asks Alaskan Authorities to Investigate Secret Practice of 'Breeding and Weeding' for Prize Money

For Immediate Release:
October 27, 2017

David Perle 202-483-7382

Anchorage, Alaska – Following a veteran musher’s revelation that trainers of the dogs used to pull sleds in races—including trainers at Dallas Seavey’s kennel, whose dogs tested positive for tramadol after this year’s race—have killed “hundreds on top of hundreds or more dogs” because they didn’t make the cut, PETA has sent a letter this morning asking the State of Alaska Department of Public Safety to conduct a thorough and immediate investigation into the mass killing of dogs in the sled-racing industry.

“A veteran musher has now come forward to report that hundreds of dogs are bred and killed because they aren’t deemed fast or strong enough to win them prize money,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “We are asking Alaskan authorities to investigate this despicable and heartless practice as well as exactly what killing methods have been used.”

In the letter, PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment or abuse in any other way”—notes that the documentary Sled Dogs profiles more dog killings, including dead dogs found in a shipping container in Willow, Alaska.

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PETA’s letter to the State of Alaska Department of Public Safety follows.

October 27, 2017

Colonel Hans Brinke, Director
State of Alaska Department of Public Safety

Dear Colonel Brinke,

On behalf of PETA and our more than 6.5 million members and supporters worldwide, including thousands who live in Alaska and thousands more visitors to the state, I’m writing to request that a thorough investigation be conducted into the allegations of yet another abuse associated with the Iditarod: the large numbers of dogs killed by those breeding them for the race.

Veteran musher Zoya DeNure has come forward to allege that “hundreds on top of hundreds or more dogs” have been killed because they didn’t make the cut, including dogs in the Seavey kennels, which are now in the news for having dogs who tested positive for opioids. This secret extermination of dogs who don’t make the race cut apparently goes back decades. Another musher described seeing a “several foot high mound of dead sled dogs, dumped at the end of season” back in the 1990s.

It’s time that a comprehensive investigation be conducted into the mass killings of dogs in the sledding industry, including an examination of the methods used.

More evidence of dog killings can be found in a new documentary, Sled Dogs, by director Fern Levitt, and we urge you to use it and Ms. Levitt as a resource in your investigation.

May we please hear what specific steps will be taken to investigate the intentional killing of hundreds of dogs bred for dog-sled racing and deemed useless by the breeders, as well as the methods used to kill them? Please contact us if we can assist you in any way with this investigation.

Thank you for the difficult work that you do. May we please hear from you soon?

Thank you for your time.

Yours truly,

Tracy Reiman
Executive Vice President
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

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