Animal rights activists and organizations, among which PETA, are desperately trying to make people aware of the cruelty against dogs that takes place each year during the Iditarod trail sled dog race.
Sled Dog Race
Many are finding this race a traditional one and fun, without being aware of the conditions in which the participant dogs are kept and how they are forced to run 1,000 miles over the old and abandoned mail route between Anchorage and Nome in Alaska. The weather conditions are severe and awful as the temperatures reach −100 °F (−73 °C). The mushers and their teams of 14 dogs race through blizzards that cause whiteout conditions.
PETA reports how the mushers don’t take proper care of their dogs as many deaths have been reported throughout the years as a result of the race. The poor dogs don’t get the rest they need and are likely to die of exhaustion, starvation, illness, and injuries. The prizes that the winning teams get range from $50,000 to $75,000. It’s sad to know how dogs’ lives are put a price on.
It has been reported that since the race was first established back in 1973, 175 dogs have died. Five race dogs lost their life in 2017 alone. This same year, some of the mushers were involved in a doping scandal as it was determined how some of the dogs were given opioid painkillers. This speaks a lot of the cruel nature of the dogs’ handlers who’d do anything for prestige and money.
Even when the dogs are able to finish the race, they are likely to suffer from persistent lung damage. The American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine states how the percentage of the dogs whose healt is affected as a result of the inhumane conditions of the race is staggering 80%.
Oshi is just one of the dogs who paid the price of the mushers’ dreams of finishing first with their life. This five year-old-dog died after she helped her team get to the finish line. The veterinarians noticed how her health was fragile and it was impossible for her to get back to the race track, but despite all that, Oshi was re-hooked to the towline as the race approached Nome. Oshi’s owner, Richie Beattie, was later named Rookie of the Year.
After the race, the animal was rushed to the vet’s office but it was way too late for her to be saved.
The results of the autopsy are yet to be presented to the public, but the animal rights activists already know that the reason behind Oshi’s death is the demanding race. PETA reported that Oshi was a perfectly healthy dog before she was forced to take part in the deadly race, after she ended up chocking on her own vomit. Beattie was later disqualified.
Although the race is still taking place each year, the animal advocates succeeded in making huge corporate sponsors such as Coca Cola, Costco, Jack Daniel’s, Maxwell House, State Farm, and Wells Fargo stop funding the cruel event.
Hopefully, many others would do the same and this awful tradition will be put to an end.