ALERT: Jack in the Box raising money from animal exploitation
- From the Sled Dog Action Coalition, htttp://www.helpsleddogs.org:
On November 8, Jack in the Box began auctioning a toy on ebay.com for the
benefit of Big Brothers Big Sisters. This toy was carried in the Iditarod dog
sled race by musher Sonny King, DVM. The Iditarod is condemned for its
cruelty by animal lovers. Please ask Big Brothers Big Sisters and Jack in the
Box to halt the auction of this toy, because animals should not be exploited.
(Please personalize the sample letter below.)
Sample letter to personalize:
Dear Ms. Vredenburgh and Ms. Bachmann:
Please halt the auction of the Jack in the Box toy that was carried by musher
Sonny King in the Iditarod dog sled race. This race is condemned by animal
protection groups and animal lovers across the United States. Please stop
promoting the Iditarod and all of the evils associated with it.
Mushers treat their dogs abominably. In the Iditarod, dogs are forced to run
1,150 miles over a grueling terrain in 8 to 14 days, which is the approximate
distance between Orlando and New York City. Dog deaths and injuries are
common in the race. USA Today sports columnist Jon Saraceno called the
Iditarod "a travesty of grueling proportions" and "Ihurtadog." Fox
sportscaster Jim Rome called it "I-killed-a-dog." Orlando Sentinel sports
columnist George Diaz said the race is "a barbaric ritual" and "an illegal
sweatshop for dogs." USA Today business columnist Bruce Horovitz said the
race is a "public-relations minefield."
Please visit the Sled Dog Action Coalition website
http://www.helpsleddogs.org to see pictures, and for more information. Be
sure to read the quotes on http://www.helpsleddogs.org/remarks.htm. All of
the material on the site is true and verifiable.
At least 119 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," 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
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.
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
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."
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
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 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. Because he is close to his
own to his own fecal material, a dog can easily catch deadly parasitical
diseases by stepping in or sniffing his own waste.
Iditarod dogs are unhappy prisoners with no chance of parole. Please end your
Iditarod dog sled race promotion by halting the auction of the toy.