For the dogs, the Iditarod dog sled race is a
bottomless pit of suffering.
Please end your organization’s support of mushers in
What happens to dogs during the Iditarod
includes death, paralysis, frostbite (where it hurts the most!), bleeding
ulcers, bloody diarrhea, lung damage, pneumonia, ruptured discs, viral diseases
and broken bones.
Over 143 dogs
have died in the race. Causes of dog deaths include: being kicked to death by a
musher, being crushed to death, freezing to death, bleeding to death, drowning,
heart attack and strangulation. In order to cover-up some of the horrors, the
Iditarod won’t even divulge how all the victims die. For more facts, visit the
Sled Dog Action Coalition website, http://helpsleddogs.org .
Sled dogs are often stricken with intense bloody diarrhea during
Iditarod mushers beat dogs who won’t run, or who don’t
run fast enough. Mushers beat
their dogs whenever they feel like it. 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
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
Iditarod mushers get rid of unwanted sled dog puppies by tying
them in a bag and tossing the bag in a creek, lake or river. Mushers even have a
saying about not breeding dogs unless they can drown them: “Those who cannot
drown should not breed.”
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 a recent Iditarod, 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.
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.