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Posted at 4:00 PM ET, 02/16/2011

TSA gets cold response from PETA, withdraws from Iditarod

By Elizabeth Flock
TSA won't be recruiting at this year's Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Racem(AP Photo/Al Grillo, FILE)

The Transportation Security Administration is canceling plans to recruit new workers at this year's Iditarod dog race in Alaska after PETA complained the agency was sponsoring a "cruel" event, Federal Eye blogger Ed O'Keefe reported today.

A TSA spokesman said the agency planned to recruit potential job seekers as it tries to fill airport screener vacancies at 22 Alaskan airports. That recruitment would have cost the agency a whopping $85,000.

"There are so many ways to create jobs and exploiting dogs is not one of them," PETA founder, Ingrid Newkark, said. "We are howling with delight."

The Iditarod begins on March 5.

This isn't the first time TSA has recruited through unusual methods. In July of last year, it tried to lure new hires via pizza boxes. Its advertisement read "A Career Where X-Ray Vision and Federal Benefits Come Standard."

By Elizabeth Flock  | February 16, 2011; 4:00 PM ET
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Great news! More sponsors should stop funding this horribly cruel race.

The Iditarod sled dog race routinely kills young, healthy dogs and it has to stop. Six dogs died in the 2009 Iditarod, bringing the total known to 142. Dogs die almost every year in this race.

The 1100-mile distance is too long, and the conditions and terrain too grueling for the dogs. These dogs are among the best-conditioned dogs in the world due to their training year-round, yet less than half of the dogs make it to the finish line.

They are “dropped” due to exhaustion, injuries, illness, or death. There are laws in at least 38 states against "over-driving" and "over-working" animals, which is exactly what the Iditarod does. The Alaska cruelty statue that would apply to the sled dogs was changed in 2008 to exempt them.

Posted by: LucyShelton | February 16, 2011 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Let's hope the TSA really ended its Iditarod sponsorship. At 8:12 p.m. EST on February 16th, it was still listed as a sponsor on the Iditarod's website:

Thanks to an action alert sent by the Sled Dog Action Coalition, thousands of animal lovers bombarded the TSA with emails protesting its involvement. If the TSA dropped out, they deserve the credit.


Posted by: SledDogAction | February 16, 2011 8:23 PM | Report abuse

What the authors should say is that the TSA got cold feet. I don't understand why they crumpled at PETA's rants, which aren't based on facts -- especially about the Iditarod.

It's really too bad that TSA let the Iditarod, its dogs, mushers, volunteers and fans down this way.

Shame on you!

Posted by: dwilliams2 | February 17, 2011 12:08 PM | Report abuse

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