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Idotarod needs to end

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Another Iditarod has come and gone, but there will be no relief for the dogs who are bred and stored like inventory for this grueling spectacle: They'll go from the frigid back country to the cold length of a six-foot chain.

Dogs used to pull sleds spend most of their time tethered to ramshackle houses or overturned oil barrels. Their world consists of a muddy stew of their own feces and urine. Unable to socialize or interact as they need and want to, dogs can become depressed, anxious, and aggressive.

In this year's race, one dog collapsed on the trail and was revived only when the musher gave him CPR. Another dog was revived after he was found lying on the ground motionless with a rope wrapped around his neck.

Musher Lance Mackey shrugged off running a female dog who was in heat and allowed her to repeatedly mate with another dog on the team while on the trail.

The dogs on another team began vomiting and refused to eat. The musher blamed the tainted chicken skins he had fed them earlier.

The Iditarod is a meaningless and misguided show of machismo. But dogs should not have to suffer for bragging rights, and the Iditarod needs to come to an end once and for all.-- Jennifer O'Connor, PETA Foundation, Norfolk, Va.

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