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February 26, 2008

Comments

Geo

I knew a cook with no arms and not legs......
his name was Stewie.

brother john

No man is worthless in the eyes of his dog. Keep your chin up Sluggo.

Diane

My big plans for today are to leave work early enough to make sure I get to the dog cookie store in time to pick up my dog's 8th birthday cake.

So at least I got that going for me.

Chrissy

Come now, there must be something you have accomplished. You have this blog, and, and, and.....well, I am sure you will do something great before you die. Just, if I were in your old shoes, I wouldn't wait around much longer.

Margery

The Iditarod is terribly cruel to dogs. For the facts, visit the Sled Dog Action Coalition website, http://www.helpsleddogs.org. People who put their dogs at risk in this barbaric race are animal abusers.

Here's a short list of what happens to the dogs during the Iditarod: death, paralysis, penile frostbite, bleeding ulcers, bloody diarrhea, lung damage, pneumonia, ruptured discs, viral diseases, broken bones, torn muscles and tendons, vomiting, hypothermia, sprains, fur loss, broken teeth, torn footpads and anemia.

At least 133 dogs have died in the Iditarod. There is no official count of dog deaths available for the race's early years. In "WinterDance: the Fine Madness of Running the Iditarod," a nonfiction book, Gary Paulsen describes witnessing an Iditarod musher brutally kicking a dog to death during the race. He wrote, "All the time he was kicking the dog. Not with the imprecision of anger, the kicks, not kicks to match his rage but aimed, clinical vicious kicks. Kicks meant to hurt deeply, to cause serious injury. Kicks meant to kill."

Causes of death have also included strangulation in towlines, internal hemorrhaging after being gouged by a sled, liver injury, heart failure, and pneumonia. "Sudden death" and "external myopathy," a fatal condition in which a dog's muscles and organs deteriorate during extreme or prolonged exercise, have also occurred. The 1976 Iditarod winner, Jerry Riley, was accused of striking his dog with a snow hook (a large, sharp and heavy metal claw). In 1996, one of Rick Swenson's dogs died while he mushed his team through waist-deep water and ice. The Iditarod Trail Committee banned both mushers from the race but later reinstated them. In many states these incidents would be considered animal cruelty. Swenson is now on the Iditarod Board of Directors.

In the 2001 Iditarod, a sick dog was sent to a prison to be cared for by inmates and received no veterinary care. He was chained up in the cold and died. Another dog died by suffocating on his own vomit.

No one knows how many dogs die in training or after the race each year.

On average, 53 percent of the dogs who start the race do not make it across the finish line. According to a report published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, of those who do cross, 81 percent have lung damage. A report published in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine said that 61 percent of the dogs who finish the Iditarod have ulcers versus zero percent pre-race.

Tom Classen, retired Air Force colonel and Alaskan resident for over 40 years, tells us that the dogs are beaten into submission:

"They've had the hell beaten out of them." "You don't just whisper into their ears, ‘OK, stand there until I tell you to run like the devil.' They understand one thing: a beating. These dogs are beaten into submission the same way elephants are trained for a circus. The mushers will deny it. And you know what? They are all lying." -USA Today, March 3, 2000 in Jon Saraceno's column

Beatings and whippings are common. Jim Welch says in his book Speed Mushing Manual, "I heard one highly respected [sled dog] driver once state that "‘Alaskans like the kind of dog they can beat on.'" "Nagging a dog team is cruel and ineffective...A training device such as a whip is not cruel at all but is effective." "It is a common training device in use among dog mushers...A whip is a very humane training tool."

During the 2007 Iditarod, eyewitnesses reported that musher Ramy Brooks kicked, punched and beat his dogs with a ski pole and a chain. Brooks admitted to hitting his dogs with a wooden trail marker when they refused to run. The Iditarod Trail Committee suspended Brooks for two years, but only for the actions he admitted. By ignoring eyewitness accounts, the Iditarod encouraged animal abuse. When mushers know that eyewitness accounts will be disregarded, they are more likely to hurt their dogs and lie about it later.

Mushers believe in "culling" or killing unwanted dogs, including puppies. Many dogs who are permanently disabled in the Iditarod, or who are unwanted for any reason, are killed with a shot to the head, dragged or clubbed to death. "On-going cruelty is the law of many dog lots. Dogs are clubbed with baseball bats and if they don't pull are dragged to death in harnesses....." wrote Alaskan Mike Cranford in an article for Alaska's Bush Blade Newspaper (March, 2000).

Jon Saraceno wrote in his March 3, 2000 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."

The Iditarod, with its history of abuse, could not be legally held in many states, because doing so would violate animal cruelty laws.

Iditarod administrators promote the race as a commemoration of sled dogs saving the children of Nome by bringing diphtheria serum from Anchorage in 1925. However, the co-founder of the Iditarod, Dorothy Page, said the race was not established to honor the sled drivers and dogs who carried the serum. In fact, 600 miles of this serum delivery was done by train and the other half was done by dogs running in relays, with no dog running over 100 miles. This isn't anything like the Iditarod.

The race has led to the proliferation of horrific dog kennels in which the dogs are treated very cruelly. Many kennels have over 100 dogs and some have as many as 200. It is standard for the dogs to spend their entire lives outside tethered to metal chains that can be as short as four feet long. In 1997 the United States Department of Agriculture determined that the tethering of dogs was inhumane and not in the animals' best interests. The chaining of dogs as a primary means of enclosure is prohibited in all cases where federal law applies. A dog who is permanently tethered is forced to urinate and defecate where he sleeps, which conflicts with his natural instinct to eliminate away from his living area.

Iditarod dogs are prisoners of abuse.

Sincerely,
Margery Glickman
Sled Dog Action Coalition, http://www.helpsleddogs.org

Chrissy

I suspect Ms. Glickman's post is a hit and run due to Bean using the word Iditarod in his post. I wish Ms. Glickman the best in her endeavors, but I will look to other sources for facts on the Iditarod than an activist's website. I can't imagine that it would project the most balanced viewpoints.

Just to clarify some of Ms. Glickman's assertions, according to the online abstract of the JVIM, 63% of the 16 dogs in their study, NOT 63% OF ALL DOGS THAT FINISH THE RACE, showed signs of gastric ulcers.

Another JVIM study in 2000, 2001, 35% and 48.5%, respectively, of the dogs studied showed some gastric ulceration, and that study points out that human, equine, and canine athletes have a higher prevalence of gastric disease. That isn't animal abuse, that is what happens to elite athletes that train strenuously.

Rose

You're not a worthless slug. You're just on a different schedule.

That's what I tell myself, anyway. Of course, I *am* a Slug....

bruin

Is it too late to say I was training for the Iditarod?

Michael Vick

ps. Penile Frostbite plays night #2 at Coachella

Kings Fan

Thanks for the pick-me-up, Margery.

Hey, didn't Marvin Hamlisch also bang Cindy Garvey (Steve's ex) for a while?

Hey, so, can we set a limit on comment length? I'm not exactly talking max number of words, or whatever, but just the general guideline that if your comment is (much?)longer than the length of the original post, then maybe it doesn't make it on?

DeeJay

Dog racing in general has a bad reputation. Most high level athletes are "trained" to an extreme degree. However, they do have a choice.

I, by the way, am conserving energy. Or to use a term I like, "laying fallow".

Shae

Hey Margery, don't worry. Our friend Rachel is blind, she won't be able to see the dogs to make contact. Her dogs are safe.
Oh , Bean thanks for reminding me to feel worthless today, I almost forgot.

Rachael's dad

Margery Glickman stalks my daughter Rachael, Rachael has had this love affair with her sled dogs since she was a little girl. Most blind people are lucky to have a wonderful seeing eye dog that will lead them from their home to the bus stop, from the bus stop to work, and back home again. Rachael is BLESSED with sixteen guide dogs that lead her across, around and through any obstacle that comes in here way all the way across Alaska. We celebrate and honor the Alaskan Husky, we are suspicious of stalkers, whether they appear outside our door or on every website that Rachael's name appears on. Rachael's book "No End in Sight" is a wonderful account of growing up a little different and being a world class sled dog racer.

Edmund F

Ruined it for me....was going to make fun of Rachel, but now, because of Margie the Whore, I am going out to Kick a Dog right in the face.

I love dogs and hate animal cruelty, but I am going to kick a dog and when the owner comes out and yells at me I will say, "I didn't kick your dog, it was Margie the Whore."

So Margie, thank you for wrecking a perfectly good cause of animal protection and rights by being an unreasonable and destructive person. Did you get your training from PETA?

I hate you and wish the Plague upon you.

If it's unclear I am not a fan of yours.

Go to hell,
Edmund F

Kate

Um, I don't know how to mention this without getting piled on by the haters, but I've seen virtually all the same info about how mushers treat their dogs, and I'd never heard of Margery Glickman til now.

If you look at the picture you can SEE the chain on the dog. I've seen TV programs that were pro-musher that show the exact living conditions she described here.

I don't think it's a good idea to have situations where human accomplishment is measured by what the humans can get animals to do. It sets up a combination of way-too-high emotions, as well as financial considerations, that too often end up hurting the animal. I don't know if racehorses get beaten, but they do get killed for insurance if they don't perform. Greyhounds are killed when they can't race anymore. And like it or not, sled dogs get injured and die. What people are ignoring here is that mushers are actually admitting, if not to the full extent of the abuse, at least to enough to get them banned for years, and certainly enough to get them arrested in almost any other state.

This isn't one woman saying this, although Margery's info certainly seems well-documented. A LOT of people say the Iditarod hurts and kills dogs. How can we condemn Michael Vick and not condemn this?

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