For Immediate Release:
February 14, 2023
David Perle 202-483-7382
Juneau, Alaska – With the Iditarod’s start only weeks away, a message from PETA is landing at Juneau International Airport: dogs used in the Iditarod are kept chained to dilapidated boxes or plastic barrels in the bitter cold when they’re not forced to run the deadly race. Travelers will see an actual photograph of a thin, freezing dog chained on property owned by notorious Iditarod musher Mitch Seavey.
Last year, nearly 250 dogs were pulled off the trail due to exhaustion, illness, injury, or other causes, forcing the remaining ones to work even harder. Since the race began, more than 150 dogs have died in the Iditarod, with aspiration pneumonia (i.e., inhaling their own vomit) the number one cause of death, and countless others were killed because they simply weren’t fast enough.
“Dogs used and abused in the Iditarod have the same needs as the dogs who share our homes, yet they’re chained up like bicycles, made to suffer in freezing weather, then pushed to race until their bodies break down,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA encourages visitors to steer clear of this cruelty and celebrate all the sights, sounds, and wonders of Alaska that lie beyond this deadly trail.”
The ads are located in the baggage claim area for Alaska Airlines—a former Iditarod sponsor that dropped its support after hearing from PETA—and Delta Airlines. Other companies that have withdrawn their support include Millennium Hotels and Resorts, Jack Daniel’s, Coca-Cola, Wells Fargo, and ExxonMobil. In recent weeks, local healthcare companies Capstone Clinic and Greenbrook TMS Centers of Alaska joined the growing list.
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.