A heavy security presence at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia + Technology Conference at the Palace Hotel didn’t prevent PETA supporters from crashing the event this afternoon. As Liberty Broadband Corporation President and CEO Greg Maffei spoke to the audience, animal advocates who had penetrated the conference issued a heartfelt appeal for him to end his company’s support of the deadly Iditarod, a grueling 1,000-mile dog-sled race in Alaska in which more than 150 dogs have died. Video footage and photos of the “plead-in”—which follows similar actions at events in New York City, Miami, and Beverly Hills, California, where Maffei also spoke—are available here.
Alaska Airlines, Chrysler, Coca-Cola, Jack Daniel’s, Wells Fargo, ExxonMobil, and many other companies have cut ties with the Iditarod after learning from PETA how dogs suffer and die because of the race, but Liberty Broadband subsidiary GCI, an internet service provider, is still sponsoring the notorious event to the tune of more than $250,000 every year.
“Greg Maffei heads a company that finances forcing dogs to run until their paws bleed and their bodies give out—some even die after inhaling their own vomit—with 150 dead dogs and counting,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA is pleading with Liberty Broadband to stop propping up this despicably cruel dog-sled race right now.”
Up to half the dogs who start the Iditarod don’t finish it. During this year’s race—which had the smallest field of mushers in the event’s history—approximately 175 dogs were pulled off the trail due to exhaustion, illness, injury, or other causes, leaving the remaining ones to work even harder. The race ended in controversy after the winner was caught on video dragging exhausted dogs toward a checkpoint.
The leading cause of death for dogs in the Iditarod is aspiration pneumonia—caused by inhaling their own vomit—and the race’s official death toll doesn’t include countless others who were killed simply because they weren’t fast enough or who died during the off-season while chained next to dilapidated boxes or plastic barrels in the bitter cold, a practice exposed in a PETA undercover investigation.
PETA—which owns stock in Liberty Broadband, part of the Liberty family of companies—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview, and its motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment.”
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