‘Dead Dogs’ to Haunt Iditarod in New 3-Pronged Push to End Deadly Race


For Immediate Release:
February 27, 2024

David Perle 202-483-7382

Anchorage, Ala. – A PETA supporter dressed as an Iditarod musher pulling a sled piled with “dead dogs” will create a scene outside the Mushers Banquet Gala on Thursday, calling for an end to the lethal race and the cruel treatment of dogs who, during the off-season, are chained to dilapidated boxes or plastic barrels in bitterly cold weather, as revealed in PETA’s exposé of well-known Iditarod mushers’ facilities. This colorful action is just the first of three by activists determined to save dogs’ lives after more than 150 deaths.

Where:    Outside the Mushers Banquet Gala, Dena’ina Civic and Convention Center, 600 W. Seventh Ave., Anchorage

When:    Thursday, February 29, 5:30 p.m.

starting line protest 2023 Iditarod

Mitch Seavey, Iditarod 2022 musher, chained dog in snow© CCI Entertainment
CCI Entertainment

“Dogs used in the Iditarod are suffering badly, chained outside in fierce weather when not being forced to race until their paws bleed and their bodies break down,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA is demanding an end to this shameful spectacle before more dogs die in agony.”

More than 150 dogs have died in the Iditarod since it began, with aspiration pneumonia (caused by inhaling their own vomit) the top cause. Up to half the dogs who start the race don’t finish it. During last year’s Iditarod, approximately 175 dogs were pulled off the trail due to exhaustion, illness, injury, or other causes, leaving the remaining ones to work even harder. The race ended in controversy after the winner was caught on video dragging exhausted dogs toward a checkpoint.

PETA supporters will also protest the Iditarod’s Ceremonial Start in downtown Anchorage on Saturday, displaying a giant banner high above the crowd reading, “Iditarod: Dogs Chained for Life, Run to Death,” with gashed and bloodied “dogs” chained to poles holding up the message.

Where:    Near the Iditarod Ceremonial Start, at the intersection of W. Fourth Avenue and D Street, Anchorage

When:    Saturday, March 2, 9:30 a.m.

Attendees of the Iditarod Restart can expect to see concerned locals and PETA supporters on Sunday brandishing signs that read, “Iditarod: Stop Racing Dogs to Death.”

Where:    Iditarod Restart, southeast corner of the Willow Community Center, Willow

When:    Sunday, March 3, 1:30 p.m.

A TV spot featuring footage of dogs forced to run in the race and chained in the bitter cold at Iditarod mushers’ kennels will run more than 30 times each on KTUU and KYES through March 13.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment or abuse in any other way”—points out that Every Animal Is Someone and offers free Empathy Kits for people who need a lesson in kindness.  For more information, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on X, Facebook, or Instagram.


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