From the Sled Dog Action Coalition:
The Iditarod is a cruel event and mushers often beat dogs who won’t run, or who don’t run fast enough. Dogs are injured during their brutal training and end up with cracked ribs, broken jaws or skulls from mushers.
Thankfully Target and Fred Meyer ended their support for the Iditarod after they received protest emails. But the dogs still need your help.
Please send protest emails to race sponsors: Konica Minolta, Golden Corral, Allworx (Windstream) and Waste Management.
Dear Iditarod Sponsor:
For the dogs, the Iditarod dog sled race is a bottomless pit of suffering. Please end your organization’s support of this event. What happens to the dogs during the Iditarod includes death, paralysis, frostbite, bleeding ulcers, bloody diarrhea, lung damage, pneumonia, ruptured discs, viral diseases, broken bones, torn muscles and tendons and sprains. Over 143 dogs have died in the race, including three who frozen to death in the brutal cold. For more facts, visit the Sled Dog Action Coalition website, http://helpsleddogs.org.
Iditarod mushers beat dogs who won’t run, or who don’t run fast enough. Dogs are beaten with shovels, bats, chains, two-by-fours or whatever else is handy. Dr, Jeanne Olson, who has been a veterinarian in Alaska since 1988, confirmed the brutality used by mushers training dogs for the Iditarod. She saw dogs with cracked ribs, broken jaws or skulls from mushers using two-by-fours for punishment. In an article published by the University of Alaska, Dr. Olson said, “There are mushers out there whose philosophy is…that if that dog acts up I will hit that dog to the point where it would rather die than do what it did, ’cause the next time it is gonna die.'”
Jim Welch says in his book Speed Mushing Manual, “Nagging a dog team is cruel and ineffective…A training device such as a whip is not cruel at all but is effective.” He also said, “It is a common training device in use among dog mushers…” Jon Saraceno wrote in his column in USA Today, “He [Colonel Tom Classen] confirmed dog beatings and far worse. Like starving dogs to maintain their most advantageous racing weight. Skinning them to make mittens. Or dragging them to their death.”
Iditarod dog kennels are puppy mills. Mushers breed many dogs and routinely kill unwanted ones, including puppies. Mushers have drowned, shot, bludgeoned and dragged many dogs to death. For example, Iditarod musher Dave Olesen drowned a litter of newborn puppies. Another musher got rid of unwanted puppies by tying them in a bag and tossing the bag in a creek. Mushers even have a saying about not breeding dogs unless they can drown them: “Those who cannot drown should not breed.”
Veterinary care during the Iditarod is poor. In the 2012 race, one of Lance Mackey’s male dogs ripped out all of his 16 toenails trying to get to a female who was in heat. This type of broken toenail is extremely painful. Mackey, a four-time Iditarod winner, said he was too stubborn to leave this dog at a checkpoint and veterinarians allowed Mackey to continue to race him. Imagine the agony the dog was forced to endure.
Here’s another example: Veterinarians have allowed dogs with kennel cough to race in the Iditarod even though dogs with this disease should be kept warm and given lots of rest. Strenuous exercise can cause lung damage, pneumonia and even death. To make matters worse, kennel cough is a highly contagious disease that normally lasts from 10 to 21 days.
Please end your organization’s association with this horrific race.