IDITAROD - breeding and post-race worries
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    Junior Member Die Fledermaus's Avatar
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    Question IDITAROD - breeding and post-race worries

    I have seen sites knocking this race as being too strenuous on the dogs.

    While at the WKC show a few days ago at Madison Square Garden, a veteran Siberian Husky breeder and owner told me that was not a problem as the dogs cannot be forced to run too far and hard; they will just slow and stop.

    But my main concern about the Iditarod was excessive breeding - and culling of puppies! - before the race, and health issues in dogs after the race.

    If anyone has some facts or sites about the Iditarod, or opinions, I would welcome them. Thanks.

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    Re: IDITAROD - breeding and post-race worries

    Don't take this the wrong way, but what experience do you have with hands on breeding?
    I am tired of people who know nothing about husbandry, breeding, working with dogs come here or any other forum believing that the few bits & pieces of information they know (usually from hearsay) negates all the breeder's years of experience. That THEY know racing, breeding, culling dogs is just the height of cruelty!
    First of all, not simply Iditarod racers, but any working breeder is not breeding very often at all - to do so would be to take your best bitches out of comission for several months. Speaking for myself, hunting Beagle breeders tend to breed around Feb/March, when rabbit season ends. This way, we have pups that can be trained during the summer, and our bitches are ready to contribute to the pack by the fall. I would assume this is the same with a sled dog breeder. To constantly be taking bitches out of comission would be self defeating.
    Secondly, working dog pups, ESPECIALLY sled dogs, usually do not end up in the general population of pets. These dogs are too high drive. As for culling, it can be the simple act of neutering - because all culling means is to remove a dog from the gene pool. Culled neutered dogs usually end up with other breeders who want a good dog not a breeding prospect or families who can deal with that high activity level.
    Culling of pups ... would you want a puppy born with a cleft palate or it's intestines on the outside of it's body or one with no anus to suffer? ALL BREEDERS, at some point or another must cull. Pups are not drowned or whacked over the head. That's AR propoganda. The easiest way to cull a pup is to simply let the mother refuse it, and it will die on it's own witin a short time after birth. Culling is not exclusive to Idiatarod breeders. Even taking a sick pup to be euthanized by the Vet, is culling. Removing a dog from the gene pool.
    Another point, which I am sure will be better explained by any sled dog breeders here. Sick or injured dogs DO NOT RUN in the Idiatarod. There are Vet stops along every checkpoint, and dogs are scratched for the most minor problems.

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    Re: IDITAROD - breeding and post-race worries

    Personally, I think that people in the lower 48 need to think about cleaning their own houses before worrying about those in Alaska or Hawaii and before worrying about dogs in other countries. Life is very different in Alaska. Dog teams are still valued up there and many times dogs pull not for fun, but for work. I post to another dog forum that has two people who have working sled teams and it's interesting to hear their points of view on dogs in general, which is very different than how we tend to think of dogs as pets.

    I think the Iditarod is an amazing race of endurance and has a place in the world. Dogs are not stupid, like horses are (sorry, I love them, but they've got brains the size of a walnut) and they won't run themselves to death the way that horses will. I can say with definite ease that dogs will make up their minds about what they want to do and won't do any more than that. Accidents will happen, but accidents happen in every sport, every day--including dog sports such as agility, lure coursing, and disc dog events.

    It's a good question, though, and a lot of people will have different thoughts on the race. Thanks for asking.

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    Senior Member GreatDaneMom's Avatar
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    Re: IDITAROD - breeding and post-race worries

    Quote Originally Posted by LoupGarouTFTs View Post
    Dogs are not stupid, like horses are (sorry, I love them, but they've got brains the size of a walnut) and they won't run themselves to death the way that horses will.
    what? since when do horses run themselves to death?
    The dog is a gentleman; I hope to go to his heaven, not man's. ~Mark Twain

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    Senior Member Kyllobernese's Avatar
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    Re: IDITAROD - breeding and post-race worries

    I watched the Iditarod race the other night on TV. On the two different check points that I saw (missed the first part) there were two different dogs that were not allowed to continue. The owners of the dogs would not have allowed them to continue anyway as a lame or sore dog would not have been able to keep up. I think the winner had eleven dogs at the finish and the second team had sixteen dogs. I do not know how many each started out with. Watching them racing along pulling the sleds is like watching Greyhounds race, they just love what they are doing. They are not being forced to do it, that is what they are bred for.

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    Junior Member Die Fledermaus's Avatar
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    Angry Re: IDITAROD - breeding and post-race worries

    And I am tired of the rude, self-righteous, and defensive people I have found on this forum, such as you. I asked a simple question. Are you capable of understanding that? I came here for for information, not to have you put words in my mouth or claim I said things, or even implied them, that I in fact NEVER did.

    >> Sick or injured dogs DO NOT RUN in the Idiatarod. <<

    And who said they did?? Not me.

    The alleged culling, alleged by others, dealt not with serious conditions or diseases but with dogs that simply might not run as fast as others. The allegations - which I came here to get clarified - had nothing to do with truly "sick" puppies.

    Perhaps a more rational person can better respond to the information such as on this site: Help Sled Dogs.

    >> The unofficial death count is 114, though the numbers lie because it isn`t possible to follow all the bloody paw prints of innocent animals that have died in the name of this barbaric "sport."

    They have been strangled in towlines, gouged by sleds, suffered liver injury, heart failure, pneumonia and "external myopathy," a condition in which a dog`s muscles and organs deteriorate during extreme or prolonged exercise.

    A previous race winner was banned in 1990 after accusations that he struck a dog with a snow hook. In 1985, a woman musher (dog sled driver) watched the race from the sidelines after a moose stomped on her team of dogs.

    Although the fluff coverage in The Anchorage Daily News promotes the Iditarod as "Alaska`s great race," it is nothing more than a barbaric ritual that gives Alaskan cowboys a license to kill. <<

    From Wiki, we have this, the veracity of which I came here to determine as best as possible:

    >> Animal protection activists say that the Iditarod is not a commemoration of the 1925 serum delivery. The race was originally called the Iditarod Trail Seppala Memorial Race in honor of Leonhard Seppala. According to statements made by Iditarod co-founder Dorothy Page, the media perpetuated the false notion that the race was established to honor the drivers and dogs who carried the serum.[8] Animal protection activists also say that the Iditarod is dog abuse, and therefore it is not an adventure or a test of human perseverance. They are also critical of the race because dogs have died and been injured during the race. The practice of tethering dogs on short chains, which is commonly used by mushers in their kennels, at checkpoints and dog drops, is also criticized. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals spokesperson Jennifer O'Connor says, "We're totally opposed to the race for the cruelty issues associated with it".[4] The ASPCA said, "General concerns arise whenever intense competition results in dogs being pushed beyond their endurance or capabilities," according to Vice President Stephen Zawistowski.[4] Dr. Paula Kislak, President of the Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights, who practices veterinary medicine in California, has been very critical of the care the dogs receive.

    On May 18, 2007, the Iditarod Trail Committee Board of Directors announced that they had suspended Ramy Brooks for abusing his sled dogs. The suspension is for the 2008 and 2009 races, and following that Brooks would be on probation for 3 years. <<

    If anyone who is actually KNOWLEDGEABLE about this matter can respond it would be appreciated. If there are no such people, thanks anyway.

    I came here for facts, not diatribes.






    Quote Originally Posted by UrbanBeagles View Post
    Don't take this the wrong way, but what experience do you have with hands on breeding?
    I am tired of people who know nothing about husbandry, breeding, working with dogs come here or any other forum believing that the few bits & pieces of information they know (usually from hearsay) negates all the breeder's years of experience. That THEY know racing, breeding, culling dogs is just the height of cruelty!
    First of all, not simply Iditarod racers, but any working breeder is not breeding very often at all - to do so would be to take your best bitches out of comission for several months. Speaking for myself, hunting Beagle breeders tend to breed around Feb/March, when rabbit season ends. This way, we have pups that can be trained during the summer, and our bitches are ready to contribute to the pack by the fall. I would assume this is the same with a sled dog breeder. To constantly be taking bitches out of comission would be self defeating.
    Secondly, working dog pups, ESPECIALLY sled dogs, usually do not end up in the general population of pets. These dogs are too high drive. As for culling, it can be the simple act of neutering - because all culling means is to remove a dog from the gene pool. Culled neutered dogs usually end up with other breeders who want a good dog not a breeding prospect or families who can deal with that high activity level.
    Culling of pups ... would you want a puppy born with a cleft palate or it's intestines on the outside of it's body or one with no anus to suffer? ALL BREEDERS, at some point or another must cull. Pups are not drowned or whacked over the head. That's AR propoganda. The easiest way to cull a pup is to simply let the mother refuse it, and it will die on it's own witin a short time after birth. Culling is not exclusive to Idiatarod breeders. Even taking a sick pup to be euthanized by the Vet, is culling. Removing a dog from the gene pool.
    Another point, which I am sure will be better explained by any sled dog breeders here. Sick or injured dogs DO NOT RUN in the Idiatarod. There are Vet stops along every checkpoint, and dogs are scratched for the most minor problems.

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    Re: IDITAROD - breeding and post-race worries

    That is an animal rights-sponsored site with absolutely no credibility. The first three links on their links page are to extreme animal rights groups. I would take everything they say there not with a grain of salt, but with a whole darn shakerful.

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    Re: IDITAROD - breeding and post-race worries

    (Let me first say I am not knowledgeable in this subject)

    I took a gander at that site. This is where I stopped reading and dismissed anything it has to say:

    ...it is nothing more than a barbaric ritual that gives Alaskan cowboys a license to kill.
    Many of these groups have the stated end goal of eliminating pet ownership of any kind. Humans must learn to enjoy wildlife from a distance, or some crap like that. The emotional tone these people take when presenting their stories drives me away, far far away from them. It's hard to take any of them seriously.

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    Re: IDITAROD - breeding and post-race worries

    I believe the death rate for dogs (or people) in the Iditarod is miniscule. Compared to it's loudest opponent, PETA, who kills thousands of healthy animals every year in their own shelter, the Iditarod actually has a far better survival rate. =P

    "Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole." ~Roger Caras

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    Re: IDITAROD - breeding and post-race worries

    "Personally, I think that people in the lower 48 need to think about cleaning their own houses...."

    I'll say.

    "I think the Iditarod is an amazing race of endurance and has a place in the world. Dogs are not stupid, like horses are (sorry, I love them, but they've got brains the size of a walnut) and they won't run themselves to death the way that horses will."

    It is very hypocritical of you to say this. Horses will NOT run themselves to death. You obviously don't have any idea what you are talking about. Horses are extremely intelligent, and although it may not be in the same way as humans or dogs, they would have died off as a species long ago if they did not know how to care for themselves.

    It is extremely rude and insulting to say such things, especially when you are so wrong. I have been working with horses for over 10 years, and have found that if a horse ever does anything stupid, is never their fault, only the fault of the rider.

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    Re: IDITAROD - breeding and post-race worries

    Fliedermaus
    You just should have named the thread "I think the Iditarod is a cruel race and abuses dogs" Your original post was interesting and I thought it was going somewhere. Instead it's another fistfight. Whether it's Greyhounds, Bird-dogs, Sled Dogs, Horse Racing, High School/College football players and I'm sure somewhere a Ping-Pong Pro, you will have injuries, deaths, cheats, abuses of all kinds. Look at our baseball players who are on again off again steroids. That is the way of the world as we know it. Then there are the people who have never trained themselves or their dogs to enter in any kind of competition who want to jump up and down on something they don't understand at all, but because they don't like it (whatever it is) everything should stop. There is nothing prettier than a dog performing and doing something they love and I'm sorry there are jerks out there in every sport but that's life.
    Dinosaur Dog Trainer


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    Re: IDITAROD - breeding and post-race worries

    Hello!

    I work for an Iditarod kennel and would be happy to answer any of your questions. If you would like to discuss this, please email me at huskystuff @ roman.net (with spaces removed in the address, of course).

    Thanks!

    Alice

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    Re: IDITAROD - breeding and post-race worries

    Horses are not stupid. Loup, I'm sorry, but you obviously have no experience with horses. If you've ever ridden a horse you would know they don't move unless they want to and they'll stop when they want to. First time I ever rode a horse I could barely walk when I got off because my legs were in so much pain. You REALLY have to put a lot of pressure on their sides to get them to move, litterally kick some stubborn horses. They're very smart, they know they're bigger and they know they're in charge.

    I hate how just because the OP got their info from AR websites that it's all bs. I doubt the AR groups just pulled those stories out of their ass.
    "Modesty is a vastly overrated virtue."
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    Re: IDITAROD - breeding and post-race worries

    Quote Originally Posted by UrbanBeagles View Post
    The easiest way to cull a pup is to simply let the mother refuse it, and it will die on it's own witin a short time after birth. Culling is not exclusive to Idiatarod breeders.
    So you basically allow the pup to starve to death and think that's ok?

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    Re: IDITAROD - breeding and post-race worries

    Quote Originally Posted by Moonshadow View Post
    So you basically allow the pup to starve to death and think that's ok?
    For the cases that UB was talking about, yes. Would you rather force feed it and keep it alive in presumably severe pain just so you can give it a "humane" death at the vets office? No thanks.

    This is the way animals have regulated their OWN gene pools for ages, by refusing severely deformed babies. A lot of species will even devour their deformed young.

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    Re: IDITAROD - breeding and post-race worries

    Quote Originally Posted by trumpetjock View Post
    For the cases that UB was talking about, yes. Would you rather force feed it and keep it alive in presumably severe pain just so you can give it a "humane" death at the vets office? No thanks.

    This is the way animals have regulated their OWN gene pools for ages, by refusing severely deformed babies. A lot of species will even devour their deformed young.
    I have kept MANY puppies alive that would have died if I let "nature" take it's course. I have also had pups humanely put to sleep who could not be saved.

    Sorry....with all of the medical treatments available now I just can't see not trying to save a puppy. I have had puppies that others would have allowed to die live to be 13 years old and they have had a completely wonderful, full life.

    These animals aren't regulating their own gene pools anymore....we are choosing who to breed who to. There are times to let a puppy go but to allow it to simply starve to death.....that I will never agree with. Find out what's wrong with the pup, if it can't be save then put it down, if it can and it's not suffering then do what you can to save it.

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    Senior Member trumpetjock's Avatar
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    Re: IDITAROD - breeding and post-race worries

    Did you read the cases UB was talking about?

    Animals born with no anus. Intestines on the outside of their body.

    Have you saved dogs with those conditions coming right out of the womb? I mean, I'm not a breeder, but I do have a degree in biology. If the blastopore in embryonic development didn't fully open into an anus, you aren't fixing that. If the intestines form on the outside of the pups body, unless you have a full veterinary staff on hand that dog isn't going to make the trip to town. I suppose there's a minute chance to save those cases... but I even doubt that.

    The cleft palate example I would contest though. It may be a disfigurement, but it isn't one that (normally) is life threatening to a dog in any way.

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    Re: IDITAROD - breeding and post-race worries

    Here is my take on this:

    First off, certain dogs love to work. They love to work and be busy and be active just like certain people do. These dogs are not what I would consider pets.

    IMHO, taking dogs away from what they love to do is cruel. I know that in a personal sense, I love to be busy. I love to be challenged, both physically and mentally. There are some dogs that are that way, too.

    Some herd sheep, some guard sheep, some pull sleds, some perform police work...all of these animals help make our civilization possible. With out dogs to help out out, we as a species would be no where.

    Now, I hate cruelty as much as anyone else. Anyone who abuses a dog with a hook or a hammer or whatever they have on hand deserves a fate worse then death. Anyone who abuses a child, or ANY kind of living thing deserves that, not just dogs.

    That doesn't have ANYTHING to do with the sport. You see that right? In any facet of life you'll have people who are evil and mean. And yes, those people should be prosecuted, and often they are!

    That doesn't make the whole sport bad. That's a generalization, and no one likes to be generalized.

    I'm sure that if someone said to you, "Anyone who is an animal rights activist is totally insane. All you all do is break into labs and free monkeys, or spend your free time harassing people at dog shows. Why don't you get a real job????" You'd probably be offended.

    Effectively, that's what you've come on here and said to people who make their dogs their livelyhood.

    So why you feel like you can get so upset is beyond me. You know this is a pro dog forum. Obviously, the name is "dogforums" not "animalrightsactivist forums."

    And as for culling, that's very necessary. If you have a dog that's bred to do a certain thing, and it is not able to do that certain thing, then you would not want that dog in a breeding program.

    This does not mean that you kill that dog, or harm it. It means that you give it to someone who is aware of the issues of that dog, or you keep it yourself. that's what good breeders do.

    And it is so heartbreaking when a puppy is deformed. With those poor little things, really nothing could be done. Likely, they'd die on the way to the vet, anyway.

    Breeding is dangerous. Any good breeder will tell you that. Its dangerous for wolves in the wild, and it's dangerous for dogs that are domesticated. In either case, genetics can go badly, or infection can set in very quickly, and you end up loosing a litter.

    The same thing happens when people have babies. Of couse, I'm not sure what PETA's take is on that, but who cares anyway.

    Look, I didn't mean to come off as harsh. I know that sometimes I do. I know you won't change your mind, but I kind of hope that you do.
    Last edited by Sammgirl; 02-13-2009 at 11:00 AM.

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    Senior Member Moonshadow's Avatar
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    Re: IDITAROD - breeding and post-race worries

    Quote Originally Posted by trumpetjock View Post
    Did you read the cases UB was talking about?

    Animals born with no anus. Intestines on the outside of their body.

    Have you saved dogs with those conditions coming right out of the womb? I mean, I'm not a breeder, but I do have a degree in biology. If the blastopore in embryonic development didn't fully open into an anus, you aren't fixing that. If the intestines form on the outside of the pups body, unless you have a full veterinary staff on hand that dog isn't going to make the trip to town. I suppose there's a minute chance to save those cases... but I even doubt that.

    The cleft palate example I would contest though. It may be a disfigurement, but it isn't one that (normally) is life threatening to a dog in any way.
    Yes, I read what she said. I have never seen a pup born without an anus, nor do I know anyone who has ever had one so if she's getting those I think that's a whole issue she needs to look at herself.

    Intestines pulled out, yes. That can happen if the bitch pulls the cord....never have I seen them born with their intestines on the outside of their body. And....if I did I have to say that the pup wouldn't have time to die on it's own it would be put out of it's misery as quickly as possible.

    I've had a couple of pups with some major problems. Not saying that some of these things didn't require surgery, major surgery to the tune of $3000+ but my point is that if it's a horrible situation and the puppy is in pain and can not be saved then as a breeder it is our duty to do what's best for that puppy and that puppy needs to be put down then....not allowed to die on it's own. If there is something wrong with a puppy and the pup can be saved and can grow up to live a normal life then it's our duty to do that too.


    A cleft palate? To allow a puppy with that to die seems completely inhumane to me. Most times it's because a breeder doesn't want to spend the money on the puppy and it having a "birth defect" is their reason for allowing it to die.

    I'm not trying to pick a fight with you....but I feel that if we take it upon ourselves to bring them into the world be damn well better be prepared for anything that can happen and deal with it properly....not just take the easy way out. That's just not acceptable anymore, not with the medical resources we have available to us.

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    Re: IDITAROD - breeding and post-race worries

    I bred a litter of puppies last year and it was beautiful. Three lovely little girl puppies, all white and tan and tons of genetic promise. By day 7, it was obvious that the first born was not doing well. Her sisters were growing much faster and Holly didn't seem to be as interested in feeding her. By day 10, she was only half the size of her sisters. I found her under the crate bedding more than once, as if Holly had "buried" her under there. Twice I found her on the floor outside the crate. I convinced myself that I had to dry to save her. I bought goat's milk and all the other things I needed to feed her and for three days I barely slept. On day 13 she died. I took her to the vet prior to her death, but I was told that it was only a small possiblity that she'd recover, even with the feeding and the supplements, since her lungs had begun to fill with fluid. In the end I brought her home for the final time and let nature take its course. She fell asleep next to her mother's belly, crowded in with her sisters at a final abortive feeding time, and "stopped running" shortly afterward. I couldn't do anything else for her and letting her go on her own seemed kindest.

    I don't like the idea of culling, but I do have to say that it seems that dogs were healthier when kennels culled puppies on a regular basis, removing them from the gene pool before they could do damage to the genetic line. It's just a thought.

    Quote Originally Posted by GreatDaneMom View Post
    what? since when do horses run themselves to death?
    Quote Originally Posted by Draba View Post
    It is very hypocritical of you to say this. Horses will NOT run themselves to death. You obviously don't have any idea what you are talking about. Horses are extremely intelligent, and although it may not be in the same way as humans or dogs, they would have died off as a species long ago if they did not know how to care for themselves.

    It is extremely rude and insulting to say such things, especially when you are so wrong. I have been working with horses for over 10 years, and have found that if a horse ever does anything stupid, is never their fault, only the fault of the rider.
    There are times when horses do run themselves to death, particularly when they are frightened. That kind of death has been observed in domesticated horses and feral horses alike. There are also race horses that have literally run themselves to death (Black Gold, Ruffian, Barbaro, Eight Belles), because they won't be pulled up when they begin to run, even when they are hurt. Horses will also work themselves to death, if given the opportunity. I had my own horse as a child and I grew up around horses--horses are really not very bright creatures.

    Sorry, that's they way it is. I love them, though, despite their relative stupidity, just because they are so loving and so willing and just so darn gorgeous.

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