Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Sunday, January 26, 2014

A qualifying race for Alaska's Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race has been canceled due to warm weather, the second mid-distance Iditarod qualifier to be called off. Race officials called off the Tustumena 200 sled dog race on the Kenai Peninsula on Friday. "We just don't have the snow and way too much water in the hills to put together a quality race," race director Tami Murray wrote in an email. An extended run of mild weather and even rain has wiped out much of south central Alaska's snow despite its subarctic climate.

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Springtime in Alaska.

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Admin's note: Participants in this discussion must follow the site's moderation policy. Profanity will be filtered. Abusive conduct is not allowed.

We had to cancel our race this year as well. Dogs don't do well when it's above -10 C.

#1 | Posted by REDIAL at 2014-01-26 10:39 AM | Reply | Flag:

Um, paging Alaska. We found your missing snow. Please come to Michigan and pick it up.

Side note. For some damn reason, literally every headline I read that starts with "Springtime" leaves me with The Producers song "Springtime for Hitler" in my head.

#2 | Posted by zeropointnrg at 2014-01-26 12:33 PM | Reply | Flag:

springtime for hitler?

Is it also winter for poland and france?

#3 | Posted by Tor at 2014-01-26 05:41 PM | Reply | Flag:

Never seen Mel Brooks "The Producers" Tor?

#4 | Posted by zeropointnrg at 2014-01-26 06:34 PM | Reply | Flag:

@

ZEROPOINTNRG

you might want to listen to the songs lyrics some time.

#5 | Posted by Tor at 2014-01-26 06:42 PM | Reply | Flag:

But, But...we had a polar vortex in the lower 48...in January, that proves Global Warming is a lie!

#6 | Posted by e1g1 at 2014-01-26 07:17 PM | Reply | Flag: | Funny: 1

Um, paging Alaska. We found your missing snow. Please come to Michigan and pick it up.

#2 | Posted by zeropointnrg at 2014-01-26 12:33 PM | Reply

And sub-zero temps. I'm glad I got out of there just in time to go south. I hear from the relatives that the snow and cold is unremitting.

#7 | Posted by matsop at 2014-01-26 07:27 PM | Reply | Flag:

#5 | POSTED BY TOR AT 2014-01-26 06:42 PM | REPLY | FLAG

Omfg. The song had left my head and I thought you didn't get it. Not good. I'm too old and inflexible to have my foot in my mouth like this without pulling something.

#8 | Posted by zeropointnrg at 2014-01-26 07:31 PM | Reply | Flag:

"I'm glad I got out of there just in time to go south."

I just came back from the north shore of Lake Superior and it was like being at the south pole.

#9 | Posted by REDIAL at 2014-01-26 07:47 PM | Reply | Flag:

I just came back from the north shore of Lake Superior and it was like being at the south pole.

Next week I'm going to south eastern Ontario where it is like the Northwest territories.

#10 | Posted by goatman at 2014-01-26 07:51 PM | Reply | Flag:

They should still hold the race. Put wheels and floats on the sleds.

#11 | Posted by reitze at 2014-01-26 08:44 PM | Reply | Flag:

From the Sled Dog Action Coalition website, http://helpsleddogs.org

It would be wonderful if the Iditarod itself were canceled. Terrible things happen to dogs during the Iditarod. This includes: death, bloody diarrhea, paralysis, frostbite (where it hurts the most!), bleeding ulcers, lung damage, pneumonia, ruptured discs, viral diseases, kennel cough, broken bones, torn muscles and extreme stress. At least 143 dogs have died in the race, including four dogs who froze to death in the brutal cold.

Veterinary care during the Iditarod is poor. In the 2012 race, one of Lance Mackey's male dogs ripped out all of his 16 toenails trying to get to a female who was in heat. This type of broken toenail is extremely painful. Mackey, a four-time Iditarod winner, said he was too stubborn to leave this dog at a checkpoint and veterinarians allowed Mackey to continue to race him. Imagine the agony the dog was forced to endure.

Here's another example: Veterinarians have allowed dogs with kennel cough to race in the Iditarod even though dogs with this disease should be kept warm and given lots of rest. Strenuous exercise can cause lung damage, pneumonia and even death. To make matters worse, kennel cough is a highly contagious disease that normally lasts from 10 to 21 days.

Iditarod dogs endure brutal training. Jeanne Olson, who has been a veterinarian in Alaska since 1988, confirmed the brutality used by mushers training dogs for the Iditarod. She talked about dogs having cracked ribs, broken jaws or skulls from mushers using two-by-fours for punishment. In an article published by the University of Alaska, Dr. Olson said, "There are mushers out there whose philosophy is...that if that dog acts up I will hit that dog to the point where it would rather die than do what it did, 'cause the next time it is gonna die.'"

Jane Stevens, a former Iditarod dog handler, describes a dog beating in her letter published by the Whitehorse Star (Feb. 23, 2011). She wrote: "I witnessed the extremely violent beating of an Iditarod racing dog by one of the racing industry's most high-profile top 10 mushers. Be assured the beating was clearly not within an 'acceptable range' of 'discipline'. Indeed, the scene left me appalled, sick and shocked. After viewing an individual sled dog repeatedly booted with full force, the male person doing the beating jumping back and forth like a pendulum with his full body weight to gain full momentum and impact. He then alternated his beating technique with full-ranging, hard and fast, closed-fist punches like a piston to the dog as it was held by its harness splayed onto the ground. He then staggeringly lifted the dog by the harness with two arms above waist height, then slammed the dog into the ground with full force, again repeatedly, all of this repeatedly."

During the 2007 race, eyewitnesses reported that musher Ramy Brooks kicked, punched and beat his dogs with a ski pole and a chain. Jon Saraceno wrote in his column in USA Today, "He [Colonel Tom Classen] confirmed dog beatings and far worse. Like starving dogs to maintain their most advantageous racing weight. Skinning them to make mittens. Or dragging them to their death."

Jim Welch says in his book Speed Mushing Manual, "Nagging a dog team is cruel and ineffective...A training device such as a whip is not cruel at all but is effective." He also said, "It is a common training device in use among dog mushers..." Former Iditarod dog handler Mike Cranford wrote in Alaska's Bush Blade Newspaper: "Dogs are clubbed with baseball bats and if they don't pull are dragged to death in harnesses....."

FOR MORE FACTS: Sled Dog Action Coalition, helpsleddogs.org<>

#12 | Posted by SledDogAction at 2014-01-26 10:20 PM | Reply | Flag:

"Next week I'm going to south eastern Ontario where it is like the Northwest territories."

Aw, Halliburton weather looks pretty reasonable these days.

Well, relatively reasonable. :-)

#13 | Posted by REDIAL at 2014-01-26 10:35 PM | Reply | Flag:

I thought the dogs loved to run,can't imagine an athlete hurting his partner

#14 | Posted by bruceaz at 2014-01-26 10:54 PM | Reply | Flag:

"I thought the dogs loved to run..."

The dogs we get here certainly do. It usually takes six people to hold them (12 team) back once they are in train waiting for the start.

#15 | Posted by REDIAL at 2014-01-26 11:46 PM | Reply | Flag:

It would be wonderful if the Iditarod itself were canceled. Terrible things happen to dogs during the Iditarod. This includes: death, bloody diarrhea, paralysis, frostbite (where it hurts the most!), bleeding ulcers, lung damage, pneumonia, ruptured discs, viral diseases, kennel cough, broken bones, torn muscles and extreme stress. At least 143 dogs have died in the race, including four dogs who froze to death in the brutal cold.

Nonsense. I know that some people have done weird things to try and get an edge on winning the iditarod. One year a guy trained a team of poodles and as it turned out when they fell asleep their long curly fur got frozen in the snow. As far as frost bite goes.. well lots of men and a women have had their tenders damaged because they decided to take a leak outside in -40°F. The stream freezes instantly. Especially after a long plane ride where they jump out of the plane and in desperation drop their drawers on the tarmack to relieve them selves and someone has to come kick them loose. .

I lived in Alaska 14 years and stood at the finish line Iditarod many times. Those that made it that far their dogs were in good shape. I know there are the occasional whackos that do strange stuff. But when a person is traveling in sub zero weather for days on end they get crazy. Seriously I mean insane.

Alaska is not a forgiving place. Not justifying anything about that nut case's behavior Its not a competition for the feint hearted. You have to be in amazing shape and have super human endurance. When someone stoops to that kind of crazy they are very likely hypothermic . There is a bigger picture there than the ones portrayed in anecdotal stories about crazies on the trail. You should see the things people do to each other when they get hypothermic. That USA today reporter needs to run the iditarod a time or two. it takes years for a person to be ready for that race.

Alaskan's love their dogs. I don't care what kind of dog. Every coffee stand frozen yogurt shop drive through restaurants always have dog treats. All the schools in the state have booty drives where kids and their families sew the booties for the Iditarod dogs to wear on the trail. The mushers are given bags full. I've seen more dogs treated far worse in the lower 48 for no good reason. On the trail they are served a boiled salmon meal the mushers have to take a mandatory break and the dogs checked.

There have been other years where snow has to be shipped in to start the race in Wasilla or Anchorage (there are two starts) If its a drought season no snow. the place where the Iditarod is run not a rain forest. It is an arctic desert especially when you are past the planetary tree line. Its just as arid as any desert in the US's southwest. For centuries dogs and humans have traveled that rout because there are only 3 ways to get there. Fly boat or dog sled.The latter us very messy. Some times the only time they could travel that far north was in the winter because the rest of the year its bog.

#16 | Posted by RightisTrite at 2014-01-27 01:37 AM | Reply | Flag:

"Um, paging Alaska. We found your missing snow. Please come to Michigan and pick it up."

Was thinking the same thing as I am watching the second snow storm in 2 weeks in LOUISIANA.

#17 | Posted by bogey1355 at 2014-01-27 08:25 PM | Reply | Flag:

You can't eat the yellow snow,
Out there where the huskies go.

Frank Zappa (modernized version)

#18 | Posted by Diablo at 2014-01-28 02:29 AM | Reply | Flag:

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