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Iditarod Dogs Test Positive for Banned Substance

Iditarod Dogs Test Positive for Banned Substance

Dogs await a meal before bedding down on hay at the Nenana checkpoint during the 45th Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. (Jay Christensen/IOS via AP)

By    |   Thursday, 19 October 2017 11:05 AM

Some Iditarod dogs tested positive for the banned substance Tramadol, a first in the history of the Alaskan sled dog race.

Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race officials announced the news on Wednesday, revealing that tests for several dogs participating in this year's event came back positive for the pain relieving drug, National Public Radio reported.

The team was tested six hours after completing the nearly 1,000-mile race in Nome, Alaska, earlier this year, and officials think the drug could have been administered within hours of the test being conducted.

The identity of the musher has not been released. Iditarod board member and musher Aaron Burmeister said only the first 20 teams to reach Nome were tested, The Associated Press noted.

"It's not a good situation," he said, according to the AP. "I'm hoping that we can turn a positive light on it and the musher steps forward."

Iditarod spokesman Chas St. George said it is unlikely that race organizer would be able to prove that the drugs were administered intentionally, and the accused would be allowed to participate in next year's event and would not face disciplinary action, the AP said.

In light of the incident, the Iditarod Trail Committee Board of Directors has revised its rules to hold all race participants liable for any positive test, with anyone found in contravention of the rule subject to disqualification and possibly being banned form the race, according to a news release.

The news has drawn backlash from animal rights activists.

"Making the drivers liable for drugging dogs can't fully protect these animals from being raced to death, the only thing that will is a ban on this cruel and pointless spectacle," said a statement released by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

The organization strongly opposes the use of animals in sports and has criticized the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, stating that the sled dogs were forced to perform in freezing temperatures, with little rest, food and water.

"So it isn't shocking that mushers drug dogs to make them work harder," the statement read.

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Some Iditarod dogs tested positive for the banned substance Tramadol, a first in the history of the Alaskan sled dog race.
iditarod, dogs, banned, substance
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2017-05-19
Thursday, 19 October 2017 11:05 AM
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