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Animals In Print
The On-Line Newsletter

From 21 May 2003 Issue

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

Four-time Iditarod winner Susan Butcher will be featured during USA Network's PGA Tour coverage of the Bank of America Colonial in its great moments in women's sports vignettes airing on May 22 and May 23.

Great woman do not rely on using and exploiting animals for their acclaim. Please ask USA Network, PGA Tour and Bank of America to exclude Butcher from its great moments in women's sports vignettes. See below for contact information and a sample letter to personalize.

One of the dogs used by Butcher in the 1994 Iditarod died from exertional myopathy, otherwise known as "sudden death syndrome."

Eyewitnesses report that Butcher permanently tethers her dogs on short chains. Tethering is psychologically damaging, cruel and unnatural. 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. Dogs are pack animals and tethering prevents them from having normal interactions.

EMAILS FOR USA Network (Vivendi), Bank of America, and PGA Tour:

eileen.mclaughlin@groupvu.com barbara.j.desoer@bankamerica.com
moorhouse@pgatourhq.com
hiross@pgatourhq.com
jeff.hershberger@bankofamerica.com  

SAMPLE LETTER TO PERSONALIZE:

Dear Ms. McLaughlin, Ms. Desoer, Mr. Moorhouse, Mr. Hershberger and Ms. Ross:

Please do not feature four-time Iditarod race winner Susan Butcher during USA Network's PGA Tour coverage of the Bank of America Colonial in its great moments in women's sports vignettes. Great woman do not rely on using and exploiting animals for their acclaim.

One of the dogs used by Butcher in the 1994 Iditarod died from exertional myopathy, otherwise known as "sudden death syndrome."

In the book "Susan Butcher and the Iditarod Trail," Ellen Dolan said that Butcher hallucinated when racing in the Iditarod. A musher who hallucinates cannot make judgements or care for her dogs. Dolan also said Butcher trained her dogs by having them pull an ATV.

Eyewitnesses report that Butcher permanently tethers her dogs on short chains. Tethering is psychologically damaging, cruel and unnatural. 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. Dogs are pack animals and tethering prevents them from having normal interactions. Permanent tethering makes many dogs very aggressive.

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 New York City and Miami. 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 http://www.helpsleddogs.org  to see pictures, and for more information. Be sure to read the quotes on http://www.helpsleddogs.org/remarks.htm . 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. 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. 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."

Sincerely,

Staff: Glickman37@aol.com  

Return to Animals in Print 21 May 2003 Issue

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Please send comments and submittals to the Editor: Linda Beane Ljbeane1@aol.com

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