ARLINGTON, Va. (WDVM) — PETA organizers stood outside of Exxon Mobil gas stations across the country on Thursday to protest the company’s sponsorship of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. One group gathered outside of an Exxon Mobil on Old Dominion Drive in Arlington.
The annual Iditarod race takes place in Alaska. Mushers and a team of 14 dogs travel over about 1,000 miles in eight to 15 days.
PETA has been protesting against the race for years. In September, the organization protested outside of Exxon Mobil’s headquarters, but PETA’s manager of animals and entertainment campaigns Melanie Johnson says they haven’t gotten a response. That’s why they’re “amping up the pressure.”
PETA’s Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman says the dogs travel “so far and so fast that they often die after inhaling their own vomit.” PETA reports more than 150 dogs have died since the Iditarod began and more than 220 of them were pulled off the trail in 2020 from exhaustion, illness, or injury. Jack Daniel’s, Coca-Cola, Wells Fargo and Alaska Airlines have cut their sponsorships.
“These dogs who are exploited in the Iditarod are just like those dogs we share our homes with,” said Johnson. “They are not super dogs. They are not indestructible pieces of sporting equipment. They’re just dogs who want love and companionship.”