When people realize Iditarod is cruel, its popularity will wane

Posted: Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Re: "Iditarod sign-ups top 100 mark at deadline," Dec. 2:

Alaska has many things to be proud of, but the Iditarod is not one of them. Many of the dogs who start the race are flown out because they become sick, injured or exhausted. At least one or two dogs die every year, usually from stress, pneumonia, gastric ulcers or "Sudden Death Syndrome" literally being run to death.

The dogs are subjected to biting winds, blinding snowstorms, subzero temperatures and falls through treacherous ice into frigid waters. Their feet become bruised and bloodied, cut by ice and just plain worn out from the incredible amount of ground they cover. Many pull muscles, incur stress fractures or become sick with diarrhea, dehydration, intestinal viruses or bleeding stomach ulcers.

When more people realize the truth behind the cruel race, the Iditarod's popularity is sure to wane.

Heather Moore, Staff writer, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), Norfolk, Va.

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