Sponsors Under Fire as Iditarod Punishes Mushers Who Stopped Dogs From Freezing to Death

Companies Must Cut Ties With Race in Which More Than 150 Dogs Have Died

For Immediate Release:
April 7, 2022

David Perle 202-483-7382

Anchorage, Alaska

The 2022 Iditarod dog-sled race ended in a debacle over officials’ shameful decision to demote and impose fines on mushers who took dogs indoors during a potentially fatal storm, and PETA has fired off letters to the Iditarod’s last remaining sponsors calling on them to stop supporting the deadly race. One letter went to Gregory B. Maffei, president and CEO of Liberty Media, whose Alaska-based subsidiary GCI is a sponsor. The other letter recipients include locally based Northrim Bank, Juneau-based Alaska Brewing Company, Providence Medical Group, and two other Liberty Media subsidiaries, the Atlanta Braves and Formula 1 racing.

“No reputable company would want to be associated with an event that actually punishes people for taking action to prevent dogs from freezing to death,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA is calling on Liberty Media and all other remaining sponsors to stop propping up this deeply disturbing, cruel race.”

PETA notes that this year’s Iditarod was saturated with chaos and cruelty. Two dogs went missing—one of whom has still not been found and whom the Iditarod is failing to help search for—a musher was apparently forced out of the race after dogs he used were found in poor condition, and dogs were attacked and one was killed during training before the race even began. Nearly 250 dogs were pulled from the trail due to exhaustion, illness, or injury, leaving the remaining ones to work even harder to pull the mushers.

Just this year, Millennium Hotels and Resorts and Nutanix joined ExxonMobil—a former major sponsor that had paid the race $250,000 a year—as well as Jack Daniel’s, Coca-Cola, Wells Fargo, Alaska Airlines, and 14 other companies that have cut ties with the Iditarod. PETA’s campaign to push Liberty Media to do the same has included enlisting a pack of its supporters to wear husky masks and howl outside the company’s headquarters, purchasing stock in order to exert pressure at Liberty’s annual meetings, and sending Maffei 150 “bloody” dog collars—representing each of the dogs run to death in the race since it began.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information on PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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