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Horrors of the Iditarod Torture Race

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Horrors of the Iditarod Torture Race. The Iditarod, glorified as a statement of man's resilience against nature, is in fact a horrific case of animal abuse, in which multiple dogs die each race, are malnourished, mistreated, and housed in wooden containesr in the frigid Alaskan winters while in "training." All for the buck of winning.

Abuse of the race

The dogs that survive the annual travesty cross the finish line exhausted, to be discarded as garbage unless they survive healthy, the rare case.[1]

In the 2019 race, a dog named Oshi died from aspiration pneumonia two days after crossing the finish line—meaning that she likely choked to death on her own vomit. This is the leading cause of death for dogs who don’t survive the race.

Imagine that happening to human athletes.

Musher Sarah Stokey walked part of the final 150-mile stretch of the Iditarod trail, forcing her dogs—who were too abused and exhausted to keep pulling her—to finish the race.

Musher Linwood Fiedler lost the 13 dogs he was forcing to race when the line connecting them to his sled broke. As they ran free of the sled, one is believed to have been dragged through the snow by the others. Fiedler rounded them up and made them continue the race.

After four dogs had to be dropped from the race, the remaining ones used by musher Nicolas Petit simply refused to continue running, an act of exhausted defiance that cost him his lead and that he claimed was “just a head thing.”

A total of 235 dogs were pulled off the trail during the 2019 race because of exhaustion, illness, injury, and effects that led to some deaths.

Documented deaths exceed 150 poor abused dogs; many survive with horrific injuries

More than 150 dogs have died in the history of the Iditarod, and those are just the reported deaths. That number doesn’t include dogs who died during training for it, or during the off-season, while chained to plastic barrels or wooden boxes outside in the ice and snow. This is how "trainers" typically keep them, to minimize the cost of care and housing.

To save expense, dogs tortured in the Iditarod race are chained to the frigid Alaskan ground, with a small unheated box for shelter.

Rule 42 of the official Iditarod rules blithely asserts that some deaths may be considered “unpreventable.” Of the dogs who do survive, studies show that 81 percent are left with lung damage and 61 percent with gastric ulcers. The dogs are forced to run in frigid conditions, causing the freezing of the alveoli in their lungs and bursting of lung blood vessels. The minimum food and the stress create untreatable ulceration of their digestive tracts and a life, if allowed to live, of pain, suffering, and anemia.

Iditarod must be terminated; pleas for sponsors to pull out and end the torture of man's best friend

“How many more dead, injured, suffering dogs will it take before the Iditarod is relegated to the trash heap of history?” asks PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman.

“If human athletes were forced to press on until they died choking on their own vomit, people would be in jail. PETA is requesting a full veterinary evaluation of every dog used in this year’s race and urging that 2019 be the last year these poor animals are literally run into the ground so that people can win some money.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment or abuse in any other way”—notes that forcing dogs to run hundreds of treacherous miles at breakneck speed through ice and snow is a form of speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview.

Aware of the abuse, numerous significant sponsors have stopped providing funding. Others are considering it. It is in the end the responsibility of Alaskans to terminate this inhumanity. Perhaps the state legislature of Alaska will find the will to terminate t his money-generating horrific event.