Cruel Iditarod Training
An Animal Rights Article from


Help Sled Dogs
January 2014

[NOTE: The 2014 Iditarod Race starts March 1. For more information, visit Help Sled Dogs, take action - Stop Iditarod dog cruelty - WRITE.]

Dog deaths during training are unreported.

There is no accounting of how many dogs die in training for the Iditarod each year.

Animal in Print cruel Iditarod
Whip used on sled dogs, photo attributed to wikimedia

Sled dogs whipped, beaten, kicked, bitten, thrown, dragged

Dog’s beating left dog handler appalled, sick and shocked:

“It is around one year ago today as I write this, fewer than two weeks before the legendary 2011 Iditarod race start, that, as a dog handler at a private kennel location in Alaska, I witnessed the extremely violent beating of an Iditarod racing dog by one of the racing industry’s most high-profile top 10 mushers.

Be assured the beating was clearly not within an ‘acceptable range’ of ‘discipline’.

Indeed, the scene left me appalled, sick and shocked.

After viewing an individual sled dog repeatedly booted with full force, the male person doing the beating jumping back and forth like a pendulum with his full body weight to gain full momentum and impact.

He then alternated his beating technique with full-ranging, hard and fast, closed-fist punches like a piston to the dog as it was held by its harness splayed onto the ground.

He then staggeringly lifted the dog by the harness with two arms above waist height, then slammed the dog into the ground with full force, again repeatedly, all of this repeatedly.

The other dogs harnessed into the team were barking loudly and excitedly, jumping and running around frenzied in their harnesses.

The attack was sustained, continuing for several minutes perhaps over four minutes, within view at least, until the all-terrain vehicle I was a passenger on turned a curve on the converging trails, and the scene disappeared from view.

This particular dog was just under 10 days out from commencing racing in the long distance Iditarod race. It was later seen to have survived the attack, although bloodied as a result.

Personally, I have never witnessed such a violent attack on a living creature before. The image of that explosion of anger and physical force of one man on a smaller animal is burnt to my memory.”

- Jane Stevens, Australia
- Letter to the Editor, Whitehorse Star, February 23, 2011


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