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Author Topic: Peta happy about a movie starring dogs - yeah right.  (Read 1196 times)

Offline Gutpiles

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Peta happy about a movie starring dogs - yeah right.
« on: February 20, 2006, 02:26:12 PM »
From www.nydailynews.com


It's tough sledding out there: PETA
Two of Manley, Alaska, musher Charlie Boulding's team take a break from the Iditarod race in the village of Nikolai. 
A controversy over a new movie is dogging the Iditarod.

The film, Disney's "Eight Below," which opens nationwide today, tells the story of a team of abandoned sled dogs at a frigid research station in Antarctica. The film gets its title from both the number of canine heroes who star in it and the weather they have to endure.

But while the film takes a sympathetic view of these pooch protagonists, it also shines a light on an issue that has animal-rights activists growling in anger: Alaska's annual 1,100-mile Iditarod race, in which teams of sled-riding contestants push - and mush! - their dog teams to pull them to victory. This year's Anchorage-to-Nome event begins on March 4.

Folks over at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and similar groups are rabid over what they consider a socially accepted form of canine abuse. They're worried by the film, too, even though it has little to do with the grueling Alaskan marathon.

"Our concern is that the new movie will serve to further romanticize the idea of men and dogs that is so much a part of the Iditarod," says PETA spokeswoman Amy Rhodes.

"At the same time, it does help that it gives us another opportunity to examine the issue in a public forum."

The controversy comes nipping at the heels of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at Madison Square Garden, the biggest event on the American dog world's calendar.

The Disney adventure flick, based on a true story, is about a group of scientists in Antarctica who are forced to abandon their beloved sled dogs during the polar winter, and who return to try to find and rescue the survivors of the team.

"Eight Below," of course, is not the first film to dramatize this side of polar life. Novelist Jack London spun brawny yarns around men and their dogs in rugged terrain, and "Eight Below" itself is a remake of a 1983 Japanese film called "Antarctica."

In 2002, Disney's "Snow Dogs" celebrated a cross-country dog-sled race, and even while the movie called it the "Arctic Challenge" (and the dogs talked at the end), the Challenge was a thinly disguised version of the Iditarod.

The real Iditarod can take from nine days to two weeks to complete. Held since 1973, the event takes its name from the native Ingalik and Holikachuk words for "water" and "river."

Rhodes, who also serves as PETA's "animals in entertainment supervisor," has not seen "Eight Below" and doesn't imply that it glorifies the sort of abuse her organization associates with the Iditarod. She is anxious, however, to cite similar examples of the way she says sled dogs are exploited.

"In Colorado and Wyoming, there are environments where kids are encouraged to ride dog sleds as a form of entertainment," says Rhodes. "We object to that, as we do to the way that representatives of the Iditarod will visit grade-school classes to teach that this sort of thing is not only all right, but that canine abuse is not involved in a race of this sort."

PETA was madder than a junkyard dog three years ago, when "Snow Dogs" was released. The group provided statistics on how dogs die annually during these races - some from overexertion, some from strangulation and, in one case, from an attack by a moose.

"Dogs die every year," Rhodes adds. "Sometimes there are several who don't survive the event. And for the ones who do, there are often severe physical consequences."

She cites the July 2002 issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, where a study reported that 81% of the dogs examined after the race had airway difficulties, while the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine published statistics last year on a high incidence of gastric distress - ulcers - among the dogs.

For PETA and the Sled Dog Action Coalition - which was founded by a Florida resident, Marjorie Glickman, who visited and was appalled by the race - the Iditarod represents a worst-case scenario of animal abuse.

Iditarod fans and officials disagree with many of these contentions, insisting that the dogs love participating in the race, and that the owners love their dogs.

"Before the race, each dog has an EKG," Stan Hooley, the Iditarod's executive director, told Salon.com, "something that 90% of the human population will never have in their life. Each dog has a series of blood tests and vaccinations. There are 35 volunteer veterinarians from around the world who leave their practices to come to the Iditarod."

The debate is unlikely to go away soon, and neither is the race, which draws larger and larger crowds and serves as a major tourist event in Alaska. PETA, meanwhile, lists sponsors and corporate investors on its Web site (www.PETA.org) in the hopes that the public will contact them and persuade them to withdraw from the contest.

Still, there will be races - and movies like "Eight Below" - as long as generations of boys become men who see this challenge as the height of adventure. The dogs may bark, but the caravan moves on.

Originally published on February 17, 2006
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Offline Mad River

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Re: Peta happy about a movie starring dogs - yeah right.
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2006, 02:37:23 PM »
So now they are going to go after Sled Dog Owners. >:(  Just great. >:(

I can't wait to see what Jeffalaska has to say about this. :twisted:

When are they going to go after the Amish, who still travel by horse and buggy? ???
I have long know that it is part of God's plan for me to spend a little time with each of the most stupid people on earth.

I see you're playing stupid again...  looks like you're winning too.

Offline Morax

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Re: Peta happy about a movie starring dogs - yeah right.
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2006, 07:36:29 PM »
every year i watch the idiarod race, you know the race that comemorates the dogs bringing medicine to the cut off villages up there....  and i believe it was 2 years ago there was one owner/racer who slept with his dogs, not because he had to or anything else but because it was only right as he put it.  peta is going to end up shooting itself in the foot one day...
when in doubt shoot twice


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