With 150+ Dog Deaths, Time to Get Dogs Out of the Iditarod

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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 worn out because of the vast distances that they cover. Many pull muscles, incur stress fractures, or are afflicted by diarrhea, dehydration, intestinal viruses, and aspiration pneumonia (caused by inhaling their own vomit). On average, about half the dogs who start the race don't finish. In the 2018 race, 350 dogs were pulled from the trail, many because of exhaustion, illness, or injury.

More than 150 dogs have died in the Iditarod since it began, and those are just the reported deaths—this number doesn't include dogs who died immediately after the race, during training, or while chained to plastic barrels outside during the off-season. Recently, a whistleblower released disturbing photographs and video footage of reportedly dying puppies and sick, injured dogs at a kennel owned by "Iditarod royalty" Dallas Seavey, the four-time race champion who was implicated in a dog-doping scandal in 2017.

Dogs have died as the result of various injuries and illnesses, including aspiration pneumonia—which likely happened to one dog in 2018's race—heart attacks, excessive fluid in the lungs, "sled-dog myopathy" (catastrophic muscle breakdown), and being hit by a car, struck by a snowmobile, or buried in snow. It's time to stop forcing animals to run to their deaths.

This is how sled dogs were warehoused for 40+ years in the mountains of Colorado.

Please urge the Iditarod Trail Committee and the mayors of Nome and Anchorage to celebrate Alaskan huskies without causing their suffering and death by replacing them with willing human cyclists, cross-country skiers, or snowmobilers.

City of Anchorage, Alaska
Iditarod Trail Committee

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