Animals In Print
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26 January 2011 Issue

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Protest Iditarod Race, Save Sled Dogs

Please send protest emails and forward this alert widely.

From the Sled Dog Action Coalition,

Sled dog puppies may die in the Iditarod or during training.

Contact information, groups of email addresses and sample letter are

Please help end the horrific treatment of dogs by sending protest emails to organizations that support the Iditarod. Imagine the suffering dogs endure while racing 1,000 miles in the Iditarod with wind-chill factors as low as minus 50 F, battered by hurricane force winds, over slippery ice, down steep gorges with drops of hundreds of feet, and through icy water with little or no rest. At least 142 dogs have died in the Iditarod, including two dogs on a doctor's team who froze to death in the brutally cold winds. What happens to dogs during the race includes death, paralysis, frostbite (where it hurts the most!), bleeding ulcers, bloody diarrhea, lung damage, pneumonia, ruptured discs, viral diseases, broken bones, torn muscles and tendons and sprains.

According to the Jan-Feb 2010 Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, dogs running in the Iditarod have substantially decreased numbers of antibodies in their systems. Without an adequate number of antibodies, a dog can't fight off infections.

The dogs are even at terrible risk while resting on straw that's been provided by the Iditarod. An Iditarod musher reported that foxtails are sometimes found in the straw. When foxtail grass drys out and becomes straw, the seed detaches easily and sticks to a dog's fur. Foxtail seeds enter a dog's body through the skin, nose, ears, paws, and eyes. And once they enter, they're like a barbed fishhook. A foxtail can go anywhere inside a dog. They have been found inside the brain, anal glands, eyes, ears, jowls, feet, spinal cord and lungs. Foxtail seeds can be life-threatening to dogs.

Dog beatings and whippings are common. During the 2007 Iditarod, eyewitnesses reported that musher Ramy Brooks kicked, punched and beat his dogs with a ski pole and a chain. Jon Saraceno wrote in his 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."

Most Internet service providers allow people to send up to 40 email addresses at a time. For your convenience, the addresses have been divided into groups of 40. Please email the first group first. Individual email addresses are given under the sample letter. The groups contain addresses for the 2011 Iditarod sponsors, promoters, and musher sponsors. Email groups with semicolons and commas are on . People and organizations who support the lditarod may deny it or give misleading statements about their involvement. The Sled Dog Action Coalition has documentation to prove what it says and will provide it upon request.

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Please send comments and submittals to the Editor: Linda Beane [email protected]

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