Posted January 26, 2014

Read the Cease & Desist Sent By Iditarod (Dog Race) to Idiotarod (Shopping Cart Race)

'Murica, News
(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

The Iditarod refers to a famous annual sled dog race in Alaska. The Idiotarod refers to any number of shopping cart races that happen around the country in which asphalt replaces snow and five idiot humans replace the dogs. Guess which group doesn’t have a sense of humor?

Lawyers representing the Iditarod (the dog people) sent a cease & desist letter, forcing the New York Idiotarod to change its name to “Idiotarodorama NYC.” Here’s the central complaint:

Your use of”Idiotarod” is certainly likely to dilute ITC’s famous mark by reducing its sole association with the Iditarod Sled Dog Race, and by causing the public to associate the mark with an event that celebrates wacky costumes and antics over one that honors the endurance and athleticism of champion sled dogs and the courage and skill of the men and women that run them.

The folks running the Idiotarod released a press release that says in part:

The Cease & Desist Demand threatens legal action against Idiotarod NYC for trademark infringement, even though no one in their right mind could possibly confuse the ramshackle, unsanctioned display of frivolity featuring racers with wacky costumes and ridiculously modified shopping carts running between bars in the outer boroughs of New York City with the well-known long-distance sled dog race between Anchorage and Nome. Plus the Idiotarod NYC race has been going on for 10 fucking years now, people.

The race is still happening tomorrow, albeit under the new name. You can get the details on the event’s Facebook page if you want to go support these brave, embattled idiots.

You can read the full complaint below:

1 comments
sleddogac
sleddogac

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


Iditarod dogs suffer horrendous cruelty every day of their lives. Mushers have drowned, shot, bludgeoned and dragged many dogs to death. For example, Iditarod musher Dave Olesen drowned a litter of newborn puppies. Another musher got rid of unwanted puppies by tying them in a bag and tossing the bag in a creek. Mushers even have a saying about not breeding dogs unless they can drown them: “Those who cannot drown should not breed.”

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, http://helpsleddogs.org