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National Geographic Romanticizes Iditarod Dog Torture

From the Sled Dog Action Coalition, http://www.helpsleddogs.org 

National Geographic Channel aired its new 60 minute movie "Dare to Explore" "Expeditions from the Edge: Iditarod" in May and will air it again. This film is monstrous hype carefully constructed to turn animal abusing Iditarod mushers into romanticized heroes.

Less than one minute of air time was devoted to the terrible suffering the dogs endure in the Iditarod. At least six scenes dealt with mushers suffering frostbite in minus 49 degree to minus 99 degree wind chill. Although dogs get frostbite of the penis, flanks and other areas, this was never mentioned. The film didn't mention that many dogs suffer from bleeding ulcers, lung damage, ruptured disks, broken bones, paralysis, anemia, or various viral diseases, or that many dogs have died in the race.

Iditarod mushers were portrayed as daring adventurers and dog lovers. In an interview, Rick Swenson said, "I don't think that most people care any more about their children than we care about our dogs." Swenson was once banned from the Iditarod for killing his dog by making him run through waist-deep water and ice. The Iditarod later reinstated Swenson and made him a director.

Please tell National Geographic Channel, the film's sponsors and producers to stop showing this film and air one devoted to telling the truth about this horrific race.

Below is a list of organizations that are involved in airing, producing or sponsoring "Dare to Explore" "Expeditions from the Edge: Iditarod." Emails are first given in block form and then individually under the sample letter.

EMAIL ADDRESSES FOR ALL:

pressroom@ngs.org, tryan@nationalgeographic.com, presidentceo@grbtv.com, gcollins@grbtv.com, jmadden@grbtv.com, fzimone@grbtv.com, marielle@grbtv.com, gmackinney@grbtv.com, petersenrk@ldschurch.org, mediahelp@ldschurch.org, william.hendry@floridasnatural.com, fnatural@citrusworld.com, Scott_Matulis@ahm.honda.com, webmaster@NissanUSA.com, ir@iac.com, mmagnesen@kraft.com, kcharles@kraft.com, customerrelations@remax.net, franchiseinfo@remax.net, susan.mcgowan@cendant.com, jmenaker@webershandwick.com, alice.nathanson@effem.com, chris.jones@effem.com, honda-admin@wieck.com, investorrelations@directv.com, Shareholders.IM@pg.com, tobias.levkovich@citigroup.com, mindy.ross@citigroup.com, Edward.Murphy@mbna.com, jeffrey.citron@vonage.com, michael.yerington@westernunion.com, webeditor@fla-keys.com, clinton@floridakeys.com, andynewman@aol.com, support@888.info, marketing@888.info, customerservice@1800petmeds.com

SAMPLE LETTER TO PERSONALIZE:

Dear National Geographic Channel, film producers and advertisers:

Your organizations are involved in the airing of National Geographic Channel's "Expeditions from the Edge: Iditarod." This film is monstrous hype carefully constructed to turn animal abusing Iditarod mushers into romanticized heroes. Though its involvement, your organization is encouraging Iditarod dog torture. Please stop promoting the cruelty. I urge you to stop showing this film. Instead, broadcast one devoted to telling the truth about this horrific race.

In "Expeditions from the Edge: Iditarod," less than one minute of air time was devoted to the terrible suffering the dogs endure in the Iditarod. At least six scenes, dealt with mushers suffering frostbite in the minus 49 degree to minus 99 degree wind chill. Although dogs get frostbite of the penis, flanks and other areas, this was never mentioned. The film didn't mention that many dogs suffer from bleeding ulcers, lung damage, ruptured disks, broken bones, paralysis, anemia, or various viral diseases, or that many dogs have died in the race.

Iditarod mushers were portrayed as daring adventurers and dog lovers. In an interview, Rick Swenson said, "I don't think that most people care any more about their children than we care about our dogs." Swenson was once banned from the Iditarod for killing his dog by making him run through waist-deep water and ice. The Iditarod later reinstated Swenson and made him a director.

In the Iditarod, dogs are forced to run 1,150 miles, which is the approximate distance between New York City and Miami, Florida, over a grueling terrain in 8 to 15 days. 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 "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 http://www.helpsleddogs.org  and be sure to read the quotes on http://www.helpsleddogs.org/remarks.htm . All the material on the site is true and verifiable.

At least 126 dogs have died in the Iditarod, including four who died in 2005 race. There is no official count of dog deaths available for the race's early years. And no one knows how many dogs die in training or after the race each year.

On average, 53 percent of the dogs who start the race do not make it across the finish line. According to a report published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, of those who do cross, 81 percent have lung damage. A report published in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine said that 61 percent of the dogs who finish the Iditarod have ulcers versus zero percent pre-race.

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

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, including those who have outlived their usefulness are killed with a shot to the head, dragged or clubbed to death. "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."

Please stop supporting and promoting this barbaric race. Tell people the truth about the cruelties the dogs endure.

Sincerely,

EMAIL ADDRESSES INDIVIDUALLY

National Geographic Channel
Email: pressroom@ngs.org, tryan@nationalgeographic.com

GRB Entertainment (Producers)
Email: presidentceo@grbtv.com, gcollins@grbtv.com, jmadden@grbtv.com, fzimone@grbtv.com, marielle@grbtv.com, gmackinney@grbtv.com

Companies with ads on "Expeditions from the Edge: Iditarod"

Florida's Natural
Email: william.hendry@floridasnatural.com, fnatural@citrusworld.com

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Email: petersenrk@ldschurch.org, mediahelp@ldschurch.org

Nissan
Email: webmaster@NissanUSA.com

Expedia.com
Email: ir@iac.com

1-800-PetMeds
Email: customerservice@1800petmeds.com

REMAX
Email: customerrelations@remax.net, franchiseinfo@remax.net

Fruit20 and Post Cereal (Kraft)
Email: mmagnesen@kraft.com, kcharles@kraft.com

Avis
Email: susan.mcgowan@cendant.com

DIRECTV
Email: investorrelations@directv.com

www.888.info  (poker website)
Email: support@888.info, marketing@888.info

Honda
Email: honda-admin@wieck.com, Scott_Matulis@ahm.honda.com

Pedigree dog food (Masterfoods)
Email: jmenaker@webershandwick.com, alice.nathanson@effem.com, chris.jones@effem.com

Dawn dish detergent (Procter & Gamble)
Email: Shareholders.IM@pg.com

MBNA credit cards
Email: Edward.Murphy@mbna.com

Smith Barney
Email: tobias.levkovich@citigroup.com, mindy.ross@citigroup.com

Vonage
Email: jeffrey.citron@vonage.com

Western Union
Email: michael.yerington@westernunion.com

The Florida Keys & Key West, Monroe County Tourist Development Council
Email: webeditor@fla-keys.com, clinton@floridakeys.com, andynewman@aol.com

EMAIL ALL IDITAROD SUPPORTERS: http://www.helpsleddogs.org/sponsors.htm 

 

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