First Dog Dies at 2009 Iditarod, More Deaths Expected


Every year, we brace ourselves for this predictable—yet avoidable—catastrophe, but it's still upsetting. The first dog has been run to death in this year's edition of the cruel and pointless Iditarod dogsled race: His name is Victor, and he was just 6 years old.

Ominously, a Fox Sports article refers to Victor's death as just "the first of this year's race," while an AP story reports that the unusually warm weather is taking a toll on the dogs.

We already fear the worst for one dog who went missing after their first-time Iditarod driver Nancy Yoshida crashed not one, but two different sleds. (You can also click here to read a powerful op-ed describing the unseen cruelty of the Iditarod by PETA staffer Jen O'Connor.)

Can we finally put to rest the myth that dogsled racing is OK because the "dogs love to run"? No dog loves to run until he collapses from exhaustion, chokes on his own vomit, or gets killed by a snow machine (as happened last year). That's torture, not "sport."

It's especially galling to me that I share a last name with the defending "champion," Lance Mackey. I'd certainly leap at the chance to give him a piece of my mind at the Mackey family reunion. While that might not be possible, fortunately, there's plenty that we can all do to help put an end to this annual nightmare for dogs.



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