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Animals In Print
The On-Line Newsletter

From 7 May 2001 Issue:

Cruel Iditarod glamorized by USA Network and sponsors.

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

USA Network aired a program that glamorized the cruel Iditarod dog sled race and the relationship between the mushers and their dogs. The truth is that mushers treat their dogs abominably.

Mushers force their dogs to live in concentration camp lots attached to 5 foot chains in their own urine and filth. The dogs are beaten into submission, unwanted puppies are shot in the head, and dogs are skinned for fur. In the Iditarod the dogs are forced to race 1,150 miles over a grueling terrain in 9 to 14 days, which is the approximate distance between Orlando and New York City.

In this year's race, 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. The program did not mention these deaths. It also did not mention that mushers often sleep on their sleds while the dogs race, or that many mushers hallucinate during the race from lack of sleep.

Please write to the companies that sponsored the USA Network program. A sample letter and contact information are below.

BOYCOTT: If you decide to boycott, please say so in your letter.

SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear

Your company sponsored the USA Network program which glamorized the cruel Iditarod dog sled race and the relationship between mushers and their dogs. The truth is that mushers treat their dogs abominably. Please stop promoting this abusive race and all of the evils associated with it.

In the Iditarod, dogs are forced to run 1,150 miles over a grueling terrain in 9 to 14 days, which is the approximate distance between Orlando and New York. Dog deaths and injuries are common in the race. Jon Saraceno, sports columnist for USA Today, called the race "Ihurtadog" and "an outrage." Fox sportscaster Jim Rome called it "I-killed-a-dog." The Iditarod is condemned by animal protection groups across the United States.

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.

In almost all of the 29 Iditarod races, at least one dog death has occurred. The first race is reported to have resulted in the deaths of 15 to 19 dogs. In 1997, the Anchorage Daily News, which is a strong supporter of the race, admitted that "at least 107 (dogs) have died." Since that report, ten more dogs have died in the Iditarod, bringing the grand total of dogs who have died in the Iditarod to at least 117. There is no official count of dog deaths available for the race's early years and this count relies only on a reported number of deaths.

Causes of death have included strangulation in towlines, internal hemorrhaging after being gouged by a sled, liver injury, heart failure, and pneumonia. "Sudden death" and "external myopathy," a condition in which a dog's muscles and organs deteriorate during extreme or prolonged exercise, have also occurred. In 1985 a musher kicked his dog to death. The 1976 Iditarod winner, Jerry Riley, was banned for life in 1990 after being accused of striking his dog with a snow hook (a large, sharp and heavy metal claw). In 1996 one of Rick Swenson's dogs died while he mushed his team through waist-deep water and ice.

In this year's race, 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."

The race has led to the proliferation of concentration camp dog kennels in which the dogs are treated very cruelly. Many kennels have over 100 dogs and some have as many as 200.

It is standard for the dogs to spend their entire lives outside tethered to metal chains that can be as short as four feet long. In 1997 the United States Department of Agriculture determined that the tethering of dogs was inhumane and not in the animals' best interests. The chaining of dogs as a primary means of enclosure is prohibited in all cases where federal law applies. 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. Because he is close to his own to his own fecal material, a dog can easily catch deadly parasitical diseases by stepping in or sniffing his own waste.

Mushers believe in "culling" or killing unwanted dogs, including puppies. Dogs who are permanently disabled in the Iditarod, or who are unwanted for any reason, are killed with a shot to the head. Dogs are skinned for their fur, which is then used on mittens and parkas.

Iditarod dogs are unhappy prisoners with no chance of parole. Please end your company's association with the Iditarod dog sled race.

Sincerely,

CONTACT INFORMATION:

Samir G. Gibara, Chmn
Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company
1144 E. Market St.
Akron, OH 44316 
Phone: 1- 800-321-2136
Fax: 330-796-2222
Email: goodyear.investor.relations@goodyear.com

Niall W. A. FitzGerald, Chmn
Unilever (Helene Curtis brand, Slim Fast, Lever 2000, Wisk)
PO Box 68, Unilever House, Blackfriars
London EC4P 4BQ, United Kingdom  
Phone: +44-20-7822-5252
Fax: +44-20-7822-5951
Email message box: http://www.unilever.com/index_ie.html

John F. Smith Jr., Chmn
General Motors
300 Renaissance Center
Detroit, MI 48265  
Phone: 313-556-5000
Fax: 313-556-5108
Email: john.devine@gm.com

Seymour Sternberg, Chmn
New York Life Insurance Company
51 Madison Ave.
New York, NY 10010  
Phone: 212-576-7000
Fax: 212-576-8145
Email: internet_inetmark@newyorklife.com

Daniel Vasella, Chmn
Novartis (Sentinel, Gerber baby foods, etc.)
Lichtstrasse 35
CH-4002 Basel, Switzerland  
Phone: +41-61-324-1111
Fax: +41-61-324-8001
Email message box: http://www.info.novartis.com/investors/index_contacts.html

David C. Novak, Chmn
Tricon Global Restaurants, Inc. (KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell)
1441 Gardiner Ln.
Louisville, KY 40213  
Phone: 502-874-8300
Fax: 502-874-8790
Email message box: http://www.triconglobal.com/contact.htm

Yoshihide Munekuni, Chmn
Honda
1919 Torrance Blvd.
Torrance, CA 90501-2746  
Phone: 310-783-2000
Fax: 310-783-2110
Email: hsuganuma@honda.com

Robert A. Davies III, Chmn
Church & Dwight Co., Inc. (Arm & Hammer)
469 N. Harrison St.
Princeton, NJ 08543-5297  
Phone: 609-683-5900
Fax: 609-497-7269
Email: jobs@churchdwight.com

Michael D. Eisner, Chmn
Disney Company
500 S. Buena Vista St.
Burbank, CA 91521-9722
Phone: 818-560-1000
Fax: 818-560-1930
Email message box: http://disney.go.com/mail/investorinfo/index.html

Reuben Mark, Chmn
Colgate-Palmolive
300 Park Ave.
New York, NY 10022
Phone: 212-310-2000
Fax: 212-310-3405
Email: http://www.colgate.com/cp/corp.class/investor_relations/contact.jsp

Victor K. Kiam II, Chmn
Remington
60 Main St.
Bridgeport, CT 06604  
Phone: 203-367-4400
Fax: 203-332-4648
Toll Free: 800-736-4648
Email message box: http://remington-products.com/contact/index.html

Sondra A. Healy, Chmn
Turtle Wax, Inc.
5655 W. 73rd St.
Chicago, IL 60638-6211  
Phone: 708-563-3600
Fax: 708-563-3559
Email: qa@turtlewaxinc.com

Tim Horne, CEO
W.C. Bradley Enterprises (Char-broil)
PO Box 1240
Columbus, GA 31902-1240
Phone: 800-241-7548
Fax: 706-576-6355
Email: tim.horne@charbroil.com

Lord Blyth, Chmn
Diageo plc (Baileys, Guinness, J & B, Burger King)
8 Henrietta Place
London W1M 9AG, United Kingdom
Phone: +44-612-207-927-5200
Fax: +44-612-2
Email: info@thewineroom.ie
Email:investor.rel@diageo.com

Hermann J. Strenger, Chmn
Bayer (Advantage, Aleve
Werk Leverkusen 51368
Leverkusen, Germany
Phone: +49-214-30-58992
Fax: +49-214-307-1985
Email: juergen.beunink.jb@bayer-ag.de
Email: astrid.lurati.al@bayer-ag.de
Email: peter.dahlhoff.pd@bayer-ag.de

Barry Diller, CEO (Aired shows that promoted the Iditarod)
USA Networks, Inc.
152 W. 57th St.
New York, NY 10019
Fax: (212) 314-7309
Phone: (212) 314-7300
Email: shows@usanetwork.com

Return to Animals in Print 7 May 2001 Issue

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