In the far, far, Pacific Northwest the 2007 Iditarod just concluded. Likable champ Lance Mackey sealed unprecedented back-to-back wins of the 1,100-mile Iditarod and 1,000-mile Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race last week. But this celebration of the unity of man and dog did not last long.
Racer Ramy Brooks was officially disqualified from the race after he admitted to spanking each of his 10 dogs after two refused to get up and continue running on an ice field. Talk about win as a team, lose as a team, uh...die as a team? One of Brooks' dogs died hours after the spanking. Iditarod race marshal Mark Nordman said that so far, the necropsy (yes, a real word!) on Kate, a 3-year-old female, indicates that the spanking was unrelated to her death.
Here's some video of Brooks and his crew pre-spanking
And because this incident involved animals, in jumped PETA. (We've has dealt with PETA during the great K-State Chicken Toss, and we'll do it once more.) With PETA often comes ridiculousness:
On Monday, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, based in Norfolk, Va., asked Alaska State Troopers to conduct a criminal investigation.
"It's pretty appalling and I would hope the citizens of the state of Alaska would demand that an investigation occur," said Lisa Wathne, a Seattle-based spokeswoman for PETA. "If there was a violation of the law, Ramy Brooks should be charged."
Go on, Lisa
"I'm sure they're exhausted and sick of the whole thing," said Lisa Wathne, a spokeswoman for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
"When is enough going to be enough with this event? There is no way to do this humanely. No one who has any feelings for dogs should condone this event, or could possibly think it's acceptable."
Lisa Wathne, apparently, knows what's on the mind of dogs. Hmm.
Now, I don't think anyone here at LIO is for animal punishment, animal brutality, animal husbandry (only on select occasions). But PETA has to stop sticking their noses into small, minute issues (see: three chickens being tossed onto the court). Most people don't follow the iditarod, let alone know it goes on. Sure, PETA is bringing attention to the plight (maybe) of the dogs, but they're also bringing more Iditarod fans into the fold. Simply said, PETA deserves a spanking of their own.
The Alaska State Troopers helped put this whole incident into perspective:
"We did not feel this incident warranted investigation. We're not condoning it, we're not saying it was good, bad or indifferent. It doesn't warrant an investigation. By our statutes, it doesn't apply," said Megan Peters, spokeswoman for the troopers.
PETA does great work on behalf of animals everywhere. But they often step the line, and mis-use their resources. Lisa Wathne's time would be better spent not crusading on behalf of dog racing, and instead focusing on real animal cruelty - inhumane animal testing, inhumane animal slaughter, killing a dog with their bare hands, etc. These are the bigger issues that face a large number of animals, not just a few. These are the issues that deserve PETA's attention. PETA needs to stick the these larger issues, not ones that will simply bring attention to the organization (see: demanding that footballs be made of synthetic leather). Just like in ABC's Men In Trees, let the Alaskans have their fun!