Weird Nature

The Most Famous Dog Sled Race, The 1,000 Mile Iditarod, Has A Major Dark Side

There is nothing more appealing than mixing cute animals with healthy competition. Unfortunately, whenever animals and sports are combined at human discretion, animal cruelty is too often the result. Dog sledding is no exception, no matter what Cuba Gooding Jr. would have you think. While it may seem like fun to spend two weeks on an epic journey through the Alaskan wilderness with a team of lovable canines, it's not always so fun for the dogs themselves.

The Iditarod is the most well-known dog sledding competition in the world, but even the largest and most respected events aren't free from scandal. There is a dark side to dog sled racing, one that has actually killed many dogs over the years and may now be embroiled in a dog doping scandal.  

Is the Iditarod bad? It's certainly complicated. The race is unquestionably tough on the dogs, but the organization behind the competition claims it's doing everything it can to ensure the dogs make it safely to the finish line. Proponents of the Iditarod claim that dog sledding can actually be good for the dogs, but ultimately, dogs are at the whims of the humans behind them.