"Dogs are hauling sleds behind them in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race as I type.
Pictures abound of the dogs appearing to be joyously running free (well, in chains and harnesses, actually). The truth about their lives is rather different.
The Sled Dog Action Coalition reports that at least 142 dogs have died in the Iditarod in recent years.
Both during and outside of the race, drastically low temperatures take a toll on the dogs. Frostbite is common on their ears, tails, penises, scrotums, nipples and vulvas.
Some mushers devocalize their dogs, a cruel procedure that causes dogs lasting suffering. Some cut the animals’ canine teeth, a painful mutilation that is performed without any anesthetic. The remains of the teeth are susceptible to infection and can cause lasting pain.”