During the 2018 Iditarod, a total of 350 dogs were pulled off the trail, likely because of exhaustion, illness, or injury. One of those dogs, Blonde, later died from aspiration pneumonia—probably as a result of inhaling his own vomit. More than 150 dogs have died in the race’s history—not counting those who were killed because they lacked the speed and stamina to make the cut.
But a handful of companies are still sponsoring this death race, including Chrysler, Donlin Gold and its parent companies—Barrick Gold Corporation and NOVAGOLD Resources, Inc.— GCI, and Matson.
After the 2017 race, a whistleblower came forward with disturbing photographs and video footage that reveal apparently dying puppies and injured, sick dogs at a kennel reportedly owned by Dallas Seavey, the four-time Iditarod champion who was implicated in a dog-doping scandal last year. According to the whistleblower, operators at the Willow, Alaska, kennel allowed severely injured and ailing dogs to suffer—sometimes fatally—without veterinary care.
Dogs in the Iditarod are forced to run nearly 1,000 miles—roughly the distance from Orlando, Florida, to New York City—in under two weeks. On average, they must run 100 miles a day, with only a few brief periods of rest.
They’re subjected to biting winds, blinding snowstorms, and subzero temperatures. Their feet become bruised, bloodied, cut by ice, and just plain worn out because of the vast distances that they cover. Many pull muscles, incur stress fractures, or are afflicted with diarrhea, dehydration, intestinal viruses, or pneumonia.
Up to half the dogs who start the race don’t finish.
This follows a veteran musher’s revelation that she believes that some trainers—including those at Seavey’s kennels—have killed “hundreds on top of hundreds or more dogs” because they were deemed slow or otherwise unfit for races. She wrote, “Sadly, this has been going on in the family ‘dynasty’ for decades.
“These reasons why the Iditarod Race should be terminated will leave you outraged:
1. Dog deaths at the Iditarod are so routine that the official rules blithely state that some “may be considered unpreventable.”
The Iditarod has killed more than 150 dogs since it began in 1973. Five died in 2017 alone.
2. If the dogs don’t die on the trail, they’re still left permanently scarred.
3. There’s no retirement plan.
4. Dogs pull mushers’ sleds up to 100 miles a day.
5. As many as half the dogs who start the Iditarod don’t finish.
6. No dog would choose to run in this arctic nightmare.
7. Thousands of dogs are bred each year for sled racing.
This is how sled dogs were warehoused for 40+ years in the mountains of Colorado
8. Dogs at sled-dog breeding compounds have died of numerous ailments.
Dog residing at a kennel run by 2017 Iditarod champion Mitch Seavey.
Some have frozen to death, while others have died of complications from eating rocks—presumably a result of the intense frustration of spending years on a chain.
Dogs deserve far better than a lifetime of isolation, cruelty, suffering, and death on the Iditarod Trail. Dogs should never be interchangeable sports accessories. They belong in the warm, as members of a family. We demand that this dangerous and deadly race be finally abolished.
Please urge the Iditarod Trail Committee and the mayors of Anchorage and Nome—the start and finish points—to celebrate Alaskan huskies and protect them from suffering and death by replacing them with willing human cyclists, cross-country skiers, or snowmobilers.
Report with petition, please sign: https://headlines.peta.org/iditarod-race-will-leave-you-outraged/#takeaction
My comment: The dog sled drivers – the so-called mushers – come from the USA, Canada and Norway. Many also from Germany.
Because they probably lead a totally boring life behind an office all year round, these sled cowboys want to experience adventure at the animals’ expense.
Torture, squeezing and suffering is the solution for bored non-users and a common human specialty.
But our protests (and most of all those from PETA) have spilled on some sponsors in recent years, most recently the heavyweight financier Wells Fargo – the money is running out for the Alaska Cowboys.
After discussions with PETA USA, numerous sponsors, including Nestlé, Panasonic and Pizza Hut, have stopped sponsoring the “Iditarod”. To stop further economic support, PETA is calling on all animal lovers to participate in the online protest.
Hopefully! We are doing everything to put an end to this cruel fun for money-hungry psychopaths.
My best regards to all, Venus