VeggieBoards banner
1 - 7 of 7 Posts

0 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·

From the Sled Dog Action Coalition,

Iditarod race winner Libby Riddles is glorifying the cruel Iditarod dog sled race in talks on board Princess cruises. In its brochure, Princess asks passengers to listen as Riddles "shares moments of her inspirational quest."

Rather than being inspirational, the Iditarod is an example of the dark underbelly of animal abuse and suffering that exists in Alaska. Living tethered to four foot chains in their own waste, Iditarod dogs face a bleak existence even when they are not racing. Some dogs have their vocal cords cut, and many others are beaten and killed. Iditarod dogs are unhappy prisoners with no chance of parole.

Please tell Princess that the Iditarod dog sled race is not inspirational and should not be promoted.

EMAIL: [email protected], [email protected]


Dear Mr. Ames:

I understand that Iditarod winner Libby Riddles is promoting the Iditarod dog sled race on board Princess cruises. Rather than being inspirational, the Iditarod is an example of barbarism. Please stop promoting this cruel race and the evils associated with it.

Mushers treat their dogs abominably. In the Iditarod, dogs are forced to run 1,150 miles over a grueling terrain in 8 to 15 days, which is the approximate distance between Miami and New York City. Dog deaths and injuries are common in the race. USA Today sports columnist Jon Saraceno called the Iditarod "a travesty of grueling proportions" and "Ihurtadog." Fox sportscaster Jim Rome called it "I-killed-a-dog." Orlando Sentinel sports columnist George Diaz said the race is "a barbaric ritual" and "an illegal sweatshop for dogs." USA Today business columnist Bruce Horovitz said the race is a "public-relations minefield."

Please visit the Sled Dog Action Coalition website to see pictures, and for more information. Be sure to read the quotes on All of the material on the site is true and verifiable.

At least 120 dogs have died in the Iditarod. There is no official count of dog deaths available for the race's early years. In "WinterDance: the Fine Madness of Running the Iditarod," Gary Paulsen describes witnessing an Iditarod musher brutally kicking a dog to death during the race. He wrote, "All the time he was kicking the dog. Not with the imprecision of anger, the kicks, not kicks to match his rage but aimed, clinical vicious kicks. Kicks meant to hurt deeply, to cause serious injury. Kicks meant to kill."

Causes of death have also included strangulation in towlines, internal hemorrhaging after being gouged by a sled, liver injury, heart failure, and pneumonia. "Sudden death" and "external myopathy," a fatal condition in which a dog's muscles and organs deteriorate during extreme or prolonged exercise, have also occurred. The 1976 Iditarod winner, Jerry Riley, was accused of striking his dog with a snow hook (a large, sharp and heavy metal claw). In 1996, one of Rick Swenson's dogs died while he mushed his team through waist-deep water and ice. The Iditarod Trail Committee banned both mushers from the race but later reinstated them. In many states these incidents would be considered animal cruelty. Swenson is now on the Iditarod Board of Directors.

In the 2001 Iditarod, a sick dog was sent to a prison to be cared for by inmates and received no veterinary care. He was chained up in the cold and died. Another dog died by suffocating on his own vomit.

Tom Classen, retired Air Force colonel and Alaskan resident for over 40 years, tells us that the dogs are beaten into submission:

"They've had the hell beaten out of them." "You don't just whisper into their ears, OK, stand there until I tell you to run like the devil.' They understand one thing: a beating. These dogs are beaten into submission the same way elephants are trained for a circus. The mushers will deny it. And you know what? They are all lying." -USA Today, March 3, 2000 in Jon Saraceno's column

Beatings and whippings are common. Jim Welch says in his book Speed Mushing Manual, "I heard one highly respected [sled dog] driver once state that "Alaskans like the kind of dog they can beat on.'" "Nagging a dog team is cruel and ineffective...A training device such as a whip is not cruel at all but is effective." "It is a common training device in use among dog mushers...A whip is a very humane training tool."

Mushers believe in "culling" or killing unwanted dogs, including puppies. Many dogs who are permanently disabled in the Iditarod, or who are unwanted for any reason, are killed with a shot to the head, dragged or clubbed to death. "On-going cruelty is the law of many dog lots. Dogs are clubbed with baseball bats and if they don't pull are dragged to death in harnesses....." wrote Alaskan Mike Cranford in an article for Alaska's Bush Blade Newspaper (March, 2000).

Jon Saraceno wrote in his March 3, 2000 column in USA Today, "He [Colonel Tom Classen] confirmed dog beatings and far worse. Like starving dogs to maintain their most advantageous racing weight. Skinning them to make mittens. Or dragging them to their death."

The race has led to the proliferation of horrific dog kennels in which the dogs are treated very cruelly. Many kennels have over 100 dogs and some have as many as 200. It is standard for the dogs to spend their entire lives outside tethered to metal chains that can be as short as four feet long. In 1997 the United States Department of Agriculture determined that the tethering of dogs was inhumane and not in the animals' best interests. The chaining of dogs as a primary means of enclosure is prohibited in all cases where federal law applies. A dog who is permanently tethered is forced to urinate and defecate where he sleeps, which conflicts with his natural instinct to eliminate away from his living area.

Iditarod dogs are unhappy prisoners with no chance of parole. Please stop promoting this cruel race.


3,192 Posts
Originally posted by Michael

Before anyone is tempted I would like to remind you that this is not a debate forum.
LOL... way to nip this one in the bud Michael. For those interested in reading the most recent debate over the Iditarod, or even wanting to voice their own opinions on the matter... please see the following Iditarod debate thread here:

SledDogAC... this part of your post caught my eye, "PLEASE CROSSPOST". Actually, please do NOT crosspost this to other action related threads. Crossposting is nothing but spam. Interesting that this is your first post. You registered, pasted a "news article" linked to your own personal site... with PLEASE CROSSPOST at top... then left. Sorry... this looks like spam to me, regardless of the cause.

Ahhh, I just checked... this is a Margery Glickman "action alert". 'Nuff said.

0 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I hope that people will post the Iditarod alert on other boards. Hopefully, Princess Cruises will receive many protest emails about its Iditarod promotion. It is also important to educate people about this cruel race.


0 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·

Sled Dogs May Shed Clues on 'Ski Asthma'

Tue Oct 8, 2:17 PM ET

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Sled dogs that run Alaska's famous Iditarod--the

1,100 mile race from Anchorage to Nome--may help scientists to better

understand a lung condition called ski asthma, new study findings suggest.

Human cold-weather athletes, especially skaters and cross-country skiers, are

more likely than those who don't work out intensely in chilly conditions to

have inflammation in the peripheral parts of their lungs, as well as

increased sensitivity of these airway regions. Some investigators suggest

that this inflammation, which is similar to asthma, may be due to repeated

penetration of insufficiently warmed and moistened air deep into the lungs.

"Because of the similarities between the activities of human cold-weather

athletes and racing sled dogs, we hypothesized that racing sled dogs might

also suffer from increased prevalence of airway disease," write lead author

Dr. Michael S. Davis of Oklahoma State University in Stillwater and


To investigate, the team of researchers examined the airways of 59 sled dogs

24 to 48 hours after they completed the long and arduous race. Their findings

are published in the September issue of the American Journal of Respiratory

and Critical Care Medicine.

The researchers found that 81% of the canines had "abnormal accumulations" of

mucus or cellular debris in their lower airways. This accumulation was

classified as moderate to severe in nearly half of the animals, according to

the report. There was no evidence that the lung damage could be due to

bacterial infection, the authors note. Instead, they say, it was likely

caused by cooling and drying out of peripheral airway passages, resulting in

injury and inflammation.

"Our findings support the hypothesis that strenuous exercise in cold

environments can lead to lower airway disease and suggest that racing sled

dogs may be a useful naturally occurring animal model of the analogous human

disease," the authors conclude.

SOURCE: American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine

1 - 7 of 7 Posts