I, for one, feel it’s only right to hear both sides of the story. Here’s the animal rights side of the Iditarod Sled Dog Race.
The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, the eleven-hundred-mile dog-sled race across the inhospitable Alaskan wilderness, is often called “The Toughest Race on Earth.” However, some animal-rights activists contend that it is more deserving of the title of Most Inhumane.
One journalist called it “maybe the cruelest sporting event in America.” Jim Rome of Fox Sport prefers to call it the “I-killed-a-dog” sled race. Leading the charge of accusers is the Sled Dog Action Coalition, a group whose stated mission is to expose the dirty truths behind Alaska’s most popular sport. On their website, they list numerous ways in which sled dog racing abuses dogs:
#1: Dog Deaths
The naked truth of the matter is that the Iditarod has never been run without the death of at least one dog.
At last count, over 136 dogs have died during the race since its inaugural run in 1973, although exact numbers are impossible to ascertain due to the fact that no official tally was taken in early years. Causes of death in recent years have included strangulation, hemorrhaging after being impaled by a sled, heart attacks, drowning, muscular arrest, pneumonia and being hit by a snowmobile. In 2008, three dogs died.
These numbers include only the dogs which die in the race itself. No statistics exist to show how many dogs die in training, or in the aftermath of the race, but arguably these numbers could be much higher.
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