Dog sledding

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, Jan/Feb 1994:

The United Coalition of Animal
Rights Volunteers is asking animal protec-
tion groups to endorse “Six Humane
Treatment Rules” for the annual Iditarod
dog sled race from Anchorage to Nome pro-
posed by UCARV founder John Suter, who ran
poodle teams in the Iditarod until they were
barred in 1992, following incidents that caused
death or injury to poodles in three consecutive
years. Suter’s proposed “humane rules” include
an “Equal Run/Equal Rest” rule that would
penalize racers who drive their dogs at a slower
pace by obliging them to take longer breaks,
and a “Drop a Dog, Rest the Team” rule that
would penalize drivers who leave injured dogs
at checkpoints rather than forcing them to con-
tinue in harness. Despite the likelihood that
Suter’s rules would cause more harm to dogs
rather than less, they are already backed by the
International Fund for Animal Welfare.

1986 Yukon Quest winner Bruce
Johnson, 48, of Tagish, British Columbia,
died November 23 along with his six-dog team
when they fell through thin ice near Carcross,
the Yukon.
Norman Vaughan, 87, on Nov-
ember 30 abandoned his effort to become the
last person to drive a dog sled to the South
Pole when his support plane crashed. There
were no injuries; the dogs were returned home
to Anchorage, Alaska. Vaughan, who was part
of the first dog sled trip to the pole in 1928, had
hoped to get a return visit in before an interna-
tional ban on dogs in the Antarctic took effect
January 1. The ban was imposed to protect
marine mammals from the canine distemper
virus, which may be transmitted via feces.
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