For Immediate Release:
March 17, 2023
David Perle 202-483-7382
White Mountain, Alaska – PETA has received damning footage of this year’s Iditarod winner, Ryan Redington, dragging his visibly exhausted dogs during the race. The video’s release follows complaints from concerned viewers and comes less than 24 hours after PETA joined the public’s effort to reward anyone who turns over such footage.
The video shows the musher picking up and yanking his worn-out dogs into the race’s White Mountain checkpoint as they repeatedly try to lie down—actions that shocked even other mushers in the industry, some of whom have commented online that the Iditarod should prohibit dragging dogs out of checkpoints while others have called for Redington’s disqualification.
“This video exposes Ryan Redington as a man so desperate for victory and a cash prize that he denied his dogs a moment’s rest when they were desperate to stop,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA is calling for an end to the Iditarod on behalf of every dog who has been forced to run its thousand miles, which are so grueling that more than half the dogs can’t make it to the end and over 150 have died in the race’s history.”
The end of the 2023 Iditarod approaches, and approximately 175 dogs so far have been pulled off the trail due to exhaustion, illness, injury, or other causes, forcing the remaining ones to work even harder to pull the mushers. Redington, for example, finished the race with just six dogs. At one point, rookie musher Eddie Burke Jr. fell asleep and fell off his sled, losing the entire dog team; the dogs had to run the remaining 18 miles to the next checkpoint by themselves and could easily have gotten lost or been injured. Mushers Kelly Maixner and Jessie Holmes complained of sustaining backaches and bashed knees on one uneven stretch of the trail but didn’t acknowledge how the conditions affected the dogs who pulled them.
Only 33 mushers started the Iditarod this year, the lowest field in its history. Meanwhile, the dog-free Iron Dog snowmobile race and Iditarod Trail Invitational ultramarathon both passed the Iditarod in sign-ups this year.
PETA has sent $1,000 to the person who gave the group the disturbing footage, and that individual is also receiving $1,100 offered by concerned citizens and dog welfare advocate Humane Mushing. PETA encourages anyone else with footage of abuse along the Iditarod trail to come forward.
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.