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Update: As of March 7th, more than 150 dogs have already died during this year’s cruel race, and those are just the reported deaths. The leading cause of death is aspiration pneumonia, caused by inhaling their own vomit. The poor dogs are forced to pull sleds up to 100 miles a day in horrible weather conditions. There are winds up to 40mph, whiteouts, and temperatures below minus 50 degrees. The dogs that don’t die suffer endlessly with untreated injuries, lung damage, and broken paws.

The Iditarod dog sled race is an annual event where teams of dogs are pushed beyond their breaking points and forced to run for nearly two weeks. Groups of up to 14 dogs pull sled drivers called mushers, and the dogs are expected to run over 1,000 miles through the freezing Alaskan wilderness in 8-15 days. The race began on March 5th, 2022.

The first race was in 1973, where at least 15 dogs died, and since then, it has proven deadly for many of the dogs involved. According to PETA, dog deaths are so common the official Iditarod rules acknowledge that some dogs’ deaths are simply “unpreventable.”

Most of the dogs who don’t die barely make it out alive. In last year’s race, close to 200 dogs were removed due to exhaustion, illness, injury, and other reasons.

A musher named Dallas Seavey, who has won five Iditarod races, including last year, had to remove four of the dogs who were on the verge of collapsing. Seavy has had dogs who have tested positive for opioids. He also runs a kennel that has been accused of killing dogs who weren’t good enough to race. A whistleblower who worked for Seavey reported finding many dying puppies.

The cruelty at the dog kennels is unacceptable, and most people would protest if they knew the actual conditions. A PETA witness led an investigation into two dog kennels owned by an Iditarod winner and found that dogs were chained in the freezing cold, only with small boxes or plastic barrels for shelter. They were denied veterinary care and forced to run even when tired and dehydrated.

Over a thousand dogs are bred every year for sled racing, but only a couple dozen will make the cut to enter the cruel race unwillingly. Many dogs that are bred freeze to death and die from complications of eating rocks because they spend their whole life on a chain.

Another musher, Brenda Mackey, pulled out of last year’s race because her dogs were suffering from awful diarrhea, aspiration pneumonia, and violent vomiting.

Martin Buser, who has won four Iditarod races, was accused of putting an injured dog back on the team and forcing the powerless pup to continue running.

During the event, dogs die for many reasons, the most common being aspiration pneumonia. They suffer endlessly, and many don’t make it out because of asphyxiation, heart attacks, trauma from being struck by a vehicle, freezing to death, excess fluid in the lungs, and acute aspiration pneumonia—caused by inhaling vomit.

The American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine reported that over 80% of dogs who finish the race have significant lung damage. Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine found in another study that racing dogs had a 61% higher chance of stomach erosions and ulcers.

In recent years, many companies have dropped their long-term sponsorships of the event thanks to PETA raising awareness and showing what happens to these pups behind the scenes.

Dogs that don’t even make it to the actual Iditarod race have a devastating life. Racing dog breeders freely admit to killing the surplus of dogs. They are killed whether they aren’t fast enough, fit for competition, or don’t meet the look standard. If dogs have white paw pads, they cannot be in the race and aren’t of need to the breeders. Dogs who finish the race and are pushed past their breaking point will be shot, drowned, or often abandoned to starve.

During the race, the dogs run over 1,000 miles in less than two weeks, and the rules state they can only rest for 40 hours over the entire span of the race. There are countless pictures of exhausted and broken dogs resting with bloodied legs, looking miserable and depressed.

Most dogs can’t even finish the race, however, the rules state that only the dogs who started are allowed to finish. Therefore, the remaining dogs are forced to work even harder to pull the weight of their fallen friends.

This year’s race began on March 5th, 2022, and we need to put an end to the horrific animal abuse that goes on in this Alaskan race. While many sponsors have already dropped out, many companies still Support this cruel race.

PETA is working to kindly ask all media to drop their Support of the race. Check out their message to Liberty Media, demanding they drop their race sponsorship.

We have to end this race before even more dogs are bred to suffer their whole lives and die unjustly. Sign every petition you can and speak out and educate others about what goes on in Alaska every March.

Sign this petition to end the cruel Iditarod trail sled dog race.

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