Chronicle: Racing for the Grave: The Iditarod's Trail of Dog Deaths
I just read a story about what the dogs who run in the Alaskan Iditarod go through. It is disgusting. They are treated like machines and endure horrible pain and physical abuse. Most of them die from their injuries or of gastric ulcers from being made to do physically what they actually cannot do. They are used only for the vanity of their owners, who want to win big money on what used to be a fun leisurely race and what is now the equivalent of running from New York to Florida. And contrary to what the owners will tell you, the dogs do NOT live to run. Many die of exhaustion. The ones that survive are tethered outside ALL the time and are not allowed to interact even with one another. Many starve or freeze to death even when they are not "running."
All of this has come out again beause a former "winner" was caught beating his dogs who simply laid down because they couldn't go on. One later died. This is not at all uncommon and what is even worse, is that unlike this woman, people actually cheer and applaud the abuse and buy into the myth that the dogs like it. The man actually said he was "spanking" his dogs. Too bad for him several witnesses saw him beating them with all kind of objects for more than 20 minutes. But even the ones who survived won't live long. They're too physically damaged. The American Humane Society has called for it to be banned -- their web page won't come up for some reason. But it has some heartwrenching information on it. This is in no way a sport -- even bull fighting is more fair to the animals, and that's not saying much.
http:RGJ.com: Mostly Dogs