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Update: KTVA 11 News has reported on an unabridged version of the 2017 toxicology report that sparked the Dallas Seavey doping scandal. In the uncensored document, it’s noted that a second team of dogs tested positive for a banned substance called lidocaine.
Who operates this team of dogs? None other than Iditarod star Wade Marrs. Just before the official Iditarod restart in Nome, AK, Marrs was allegedly approached by Dr. Morrie Craig— who leads the race’s drug testing program— and told to stop his “workings” with the Iditarod Official Finishers Club (IOFC) and the notorious Dallas Seavey. If Marrs failed to do so, Dr. Craig allegedly threatened to release the scandalous doping information to the public.
This latest development shows yet again these that Iditarod officials and the mushers will abuse animals and manipulate information for their own personal gain. This deadly and disgraceful race must end now.
A total of 350 dogs were pulled out of the Iditarod race this year— likely because of exhaustion, illness, or injury. One of those dogs, Blonde, later died from aspiration pneumonia, showing he likely choked to death on his own vomit from being forced to run excessively hard. More than 150 dogs have been killed in the history of the Iditarod, and that's not even counting the ones who died languishing on a short chain in the off-season or were killed by their handlers because they didn't make the cut.
So why are Alaskan Brewing Company, Northern Air Cargo, and Providence Alaska Medical Center still sponsoring this merciless race?
After the 2017 Iditarod race, in which five dogs died in less than one week, a whistleblower came forward with photographs and video footage that show apparently dying puppies and injured, sick dogs wasting away at an Iditarod kennel. The facility is owned by Dallas Seavey, the four-time Iditarod champion.
According to the whistleblower, operators at Seavey's kennel in Alaska reportedly let severely injured and sick dogs suffer—and sometimes die—without any veterinary care.
This follows a veteran musher's statement that she believes that some trainers—including those at Seavey's kennels—have killed "hundreds on top of hundreds or more dogs," because they were deemed unfit for races. She wrote, "Sadly, this has been going on in the family 'dynasty' for decades ."
The Iditarod's course is approximately 1,000-miles, and the dogs are forced to run about 100 miles a day with very little rest. As if running 100 miles a day for 10 days straight weren't treacherous enough, the dogs are forced to do this through biting winds, blinding snowstorms, and subzero temperatures.
Dogs' feet often become bruised, cut, and bloodied by ice and worn out from running long distances. Many sustain pulled muscles and stress fractures or get diarrhea, intestinal viruses, pneumonia, or bleeding stomach ulcers. Some have frozen to death, and others have been strangled by towlines, trampled by moose, or hit by snowmobiles. Up to half of the dogs who start the race don't finish.
A growing list of companies—including Costco, Guggenheim, Jack Daniel's, Maxwell House, Nestlé, Pizza Hut, Rite Aid, Safeway, State Farm, and Wells Fargo—will no longer sponsor this death race.
Companies that still sponsor the Iditarod should be ashamed of themselves—let's make that clear to them.
Tell Alaskan Brewing Company, Northern Air Cargo, and Providence Alaska Medical Center to stop sponsoring this disgustingly cruel race.