Four of Dallas Seavey’s team dogs tested positive for a banned opioid painkiller during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, causing controversy. Seavey withdrew from the 2018 race and claims the drugs were given maliciously. Animal rights activists oppose the race, citing dog injuries and deaths.
Doping scandals have rocked the sports world in recent years, from Major League Baseball to the Olympics to the Tour de France. The latest doping controversy has tainted the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, which bills itself as “the last great race on Earth”. In October 2017, officials overseeing the 1,000-mile (1,609 km) race through the Alaskan wilderness announced that four of the four-time world champion Dallas Seavey’s team dogs had tested positive for Tramadol, a banned opioid painkiller.
Dogged by controversy:
Dallas Seavey, now 30, became the youngest Iditarod champion when he was 25, winning the race in 2012. He also won the race in 2014, 2015 and 2016. In 2017, he finished as runner-up, behind his father , Mitch Seavey, who became the oldest Iditarod winner at age 57.
Following the shocking revelation, Dallas Seavey withdrew from the upcoming 2018 Iditarod in protest. He claims the drugs must have been given to his dogs maliciously.
Many animal rights activists oppose the Iditarod, arguing that the dogs run around with exhaustion and suffer infections and broken paws. Five sled dogs died during the 2017 race, or shortly thereafter.