Just in time for the Alaska tourist season, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is back to again torment Alaska’s legion of Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race fans.
Anchorage People Mover and Mayor Ethan Berkowtiz both got blamed the first time around even though they pointed out the legal restraints on turning down advertising simply because it is politically incorrect, and there are few things more politically incorrect in Alaska than criticizing Iditarod.
Many figured PETA’s pre-race busboards of 2019 were just an attempt to poke a stick in the eye of the 49th state’s biggest sport in order to raise money. For a couple of weeks before the race’s traditional start on the first Saturday in March, Iditarod attracts global media attention.
It peaks as the races rushes to its finish on the Bering Sea coast.
Once someone wins, Iditarod pretty much falls off the media radar for the year, which leaves the motive behind PETA’s latest round of busboards unclear.
Why advertise when anyone who notices the advertising isn’t likely to care much anyway or just get mad at animal right’s activists? Alaskans long ago came up with their own, alternative definition for the PETA acronym: People Eating Tasty Animals.
Nonetheless, PETA is back with busboard 2.0.
It’s instead focused on a claim of PETA’s “first of its kind…expose'” focused on the kennel of former Iditarod champ John Baker of Kotzebue and partner Katherine Keith, another Iditarod veteran.
The expose’ features video of a dog named Birch injured in an accident. PETA describes the dog as “crippled,” but it appears in the PETA video that Birch might have had some use of hind legs.
“It took a lot of work and time,” she wrote. “Birch had problems using the bathroom but needed to stay inside. This meant frequent mopping. She needed regular massage and Advil to get control of her hind quarters again. I was NOT going to lose another dog.
“The internet photo was taken days after her injury. I would let her outside on occasion to let her cool off and use the bathroom. She needed to be housetrained.
“Slowly we increased her rehabilitation efforts through walks and eventually running. It is about five months after her injury and Birch is fully recuperated. I expect she will do great during fall training but if not she will make a dog owner very happy one day.
“Maybe this was the wrong approach or maybe I should have acted differently. Regardless she is better.”
Comments on Keith’s page suggested video of the recovered dog in training might help snuff the PETA complaints. Keith has not responded to those comments, but it remains possible video could appear any day.
Meanwhile, Chas St. George, spokesman for the race organizing Iditarod Trail Committee (ITC), told Anchorage’s KTUU.com that the organization isn’t taking the allegations seriously.
KTUU reported he emailed to say “the information provided by PETA is nothing but hearsay compiled in a deceptive fashion to raise money for their cause…Mushers who enter the 2019 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race (are required to) voluntarily comply with the Mush with Pride kennel standards and shall self-certify.”