The Mary T. and
Frank L. Hoffman
Family Foundation
and All-Creatures.Org

Letters and Responses

Letter From Gary to Iditarod Sponsors - 11 Mar 2009

To Whom It May Concern:

The Iditarod is blatant, prolonged animal cruelty, wrapped up in hype and self-serving delusions such as the myth of the canine marathon “athlete.”

The distance of the Iditarod is insane. No dog runs that far on his or her own. Even wolves in the wild do not cover that kind of distance in such a short time.

Every year at least one dog dies in the Iditarod. The 2009 “race” (if you can call it that) just had its first fatality. The confirmed death toll is now 137, and that doesn’t include early years when the gruesome statistic was not tracked.

Half the dogs don’t finish. They’re run until exhaustion. Many suffer serious and painful injuries or conditions such as gastric ulcers, a sign of over-exertion.

The original serum run, with which the Iditarod associates in an effort to seem legitimate, was an emergency run, a shorter distance than today’s ridiculous length, and was done with multiple teams of dogs – relay-style – rather than one team.

There is abundant evidence of dogs bred for the Iditarod who are kept tethered to a chain when they’re not “training” for the race. To confine a dog – one of the most social animals in the world – to a chain is a severe cruelty. Then there are the dogs who are “culled” because they’re not fast enough. Again, there is plenty of evidence, including eyewitness accounts, of this hideous brutality. At best, discarded Iditarod dogs put a strain on already crowded humane organizations.

Yes, dogs like to run. Let them have an afternoon romp and then allow them to come inside to rest, curl up by the fire, and be part of the family. To punish them and impose risk of death and serious injury upon them due to the hoopla and hype of the Iditarod is a horrible betrayal of their loyalty.

I urge you to have nothing to do with this cruel event. Consider sponsoring the Alaska SPCA, or your local animal shelter instead. Save animals’ lives rather than destroy them.

My wife and I, and increasingly our extended families and friends, consider a company’s ethics – including how they treat animals – when deciding whether to support them with our dollars. Please do the right thing – don’t sponsor the Iditarod.

Thank you.


To read more about Gary and his writings, visit Animal Writings.

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