To Whom it May Concern,
Come this March 2nd, approximately 1,000 dogs will be forced to endure the hellish 1,049 mile journey from Anchorage to Nome for the annual Iditarod where dogs are violently exploited for sport and entertainment. The race can take up to two weeks in temperatures varying from 50 degrees above zero to 60 degrees below zero.
Tethered dogs hauling mushers on sleds up to 100 miles per day in glacial winds, across perilous terrain, in blinding whiteout snowstorms, ice and numbing temperatures. Dogs are forced to pull through unforgiving land, two mountain ranges, the Yukon river and spanning untamed wilderness. The Iditarod promotes violence towards dogs.
Alaskan animal cruelty laws specifically exempts sled dogs from protection and has no laws prohibiting overworking an animal. In fact, the race couldn’t even be held in other states as by its very nature it violates animal cruelty laws.
Mushers and supporters claim the dogs enjoy the race because dogs love to run. Loving to run and being forced to run are entirely different things. These mushers breed specific types of dogs into existence for the mere purpose of exploiting them.
While there is no official count, the 152 recorded sled dog deaths were for the following reasons: drowning, over exertion, dehydration, blunt force trauma, ulcers, hypothermia, hyperthermia, vomiting while running and drowning in their own puke, heart attack, pulmonary edema, tangled in tether and strangled, hit by a car, hit by a snowmobile, shot by musher for injury, acute aspiration pneumonia, impaled by sled, asphyxiation by snow, injuries sustained from fighting with other dogs or wild animals and ruptured liver.
Many witnesses have reported dogs in war-like vehicles screaming and crying to get out, chained to the sides of trucks for hours in the cold with empty water bowls and their tails tucked between their legs, shaking. Confused and scared surrounded by people controlling their every move with no ounce of freedom. These dogs are seen as machines not individuals. This was not the “happy” picture that those who support this exploitation proudly paint. Those who support this event are contributing to the inherent violence involved and it needs to stop.
I am asking that you withdraw your support from the Iditarod and stand in solidarity with people around the world who truly care about the dogs, including Coca Cola, once a major sponsor, who just pulled their support because they were outraged to learn about the horrifying reality of this event and this industry (https://www.thedodo.com/close-to-home/coca-cola-drops-sponsorship-iditarod-race).
You can learn more by watching the eye opening documentary Sled Dogs which actually features the Iditarod in addition to facilities here in Canada where dogs are chained to a plastic barrel and live their lives outside all year round in all weather extremes. Covered in their own filth, they also live among dead bodies who have died or been killed and buried beneath them.
Follow this link for the documentary: sleddogsfilm.com. Additionally you can stay informed at the End Sled Dog Cruelty Facebook page and find more information here:
I would expect that your company would want to sponsor an event that is ethical and that aligns with your values of respect. Once we know better we have an obligation to do better. Exploiting dogs for human pleasure and entertainment is unjust and unethical.