Again, numerous corporations and organizations have decided to support the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, regardless of the inhumane treatment sled dogs suffer before, during, and after the event. The cruelty begins shortly after birth when puppies as young as four months are permanently tethered outdoors in preparation for their year-round training. The only time most of the dogs are ever off their tethers is when they are attached to dogsleds for training. Their training is often brutal, causing some dogs to be eliminated from competition, and possibly destroyed, because of injury and illness. Dogs who can no longer race or were never race-worthy to start are often shot in the head. Such animal cruelty is not to be tolerated and would not be if “generally accepted dog mushing or pulling contests” weren’t exempt from Alaska’s animal cruelty laws.
The Iditarod is a race about prize money and not about saving lives as the event it supposedly commemorates did. Today’s Iditarod is, instead, about losing lives. Since 1997, over 29 dogs have died; over 130 have died since records started being kept. There are no statistics for those who die during preparation for the race or from complications after the race. The dogs who do survive suffer from pulled muscles and stress fractures. They become sick with diarrhea, dehydration, intestinal viruses, bleeding stomach ulcers, and hypothermia. For these reasons, the Iditarod should be abolished.
Contact the sponsors (PDF file) of this event and urge them to withhold their sponsorship in future races. If no one sponsors the event, maybe those competing in it will stop holding it.