PETA spies, PETA lies - Must Read Alaska
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Friday, November 22, 2019
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PETA spies, PETA lies

By MITCH SEAVEY

I rarely respond publicly to PETA and their allegations about me and my kennel. I figure if I live on the top floor, why worry about rats in the sewer? But this may be the right time. If the Iditarod Trail Committee is serious about dealing with them, then I have a tale to tell.

Last spring a so called “expose’” about us and another sled dog kennel was released by PETA. The part about us is almost entirely lies and distortions. A rerun of the same garbage came out again recently.

It was an article about this person’s experiences as a handler at these kennels under the authorship of “Guest Columnist.” Really? Not even the cojones to sign his name to his “work.” Well, I know who he is, and I know where he is. Though he probably didn’t actually write this article himself, he did whore himself out to PETA. He’s a liar, and his boss, PETA is dishonest. He lives out of country now, but until about a year ago, at age 37, his address was the same as his parents, here in the U.S. Let’s be charitable, shall we, and just call him “Spy-Ex.” (That’s short for “Spy-Expletive.”)

Spy-Ex responded to a job advertisement here last winter, pretending he wanted to learn to mush dogs. He got an acceptable review from the other kennel, so we took him on. (Of course, it turns out he had defrauded them too.) I even asked him about any affiliation with animal extremists or objections to the sport of mushing. Nope, he just wanted to learn to run dogs and maybe race someday.

We rented living accommodations for Spy-Ex in town, paid him a salary and taught him to run dogs. We spent hours with him and made him a part of the team. All the while, he was stabbing my crew, my family, and me in the back.

He was sneaking around our kennel with a hidden miniature video-recording device on his person and reporting back to PeTA the whole time, for three solid months. He mushed with us, attended races with us, was in our company meetings, in our off-the-record-bull-sessions. He stayed with us at our host house in Nome after the Iditarod and, like a trusted team member, was included for my bone-weary, barely coherent recollections and storytelling at the end of the 2019 Iditarod race.

Well, what did his investigation reveal? Here’s what he got that’s true:

1) Some Seavey dogs used plastic barrel dog houses at the racing kennel.
2) One dog had a collar rub, another a small cut on a foot.
3) Race dogs lose weight on the Iditarod.

This PeTA snake was in our kennel recording for three months. Secretly spying on us. And he came up with a collar rub and a sore foot. That’s like a triathlete with a blister and a scraped knee. And, like a triathlete, dogs are hungry after their big race.

Ok. “Sorry.” I guess? After all of their accusations over the years, this is actually a vindication. 

Oh, they claim a bunch of other stuff; outright lies or tales so grossly exaggerated as to be unrecognizable from the vantage point of truth.

Here’s one example: They say my dog Pilot returned home during the 2019 race with the same hind leg injury he had last year and was then just tied up and neglected. Baloney. He was returned from the Rohn checkpoint on the race with a muscle cramp in his shoulder. By the time he was released to our people, the cramp was undetectable. Nevertheless, my man at the kennel instituted a normal protocol of liniment massages, essential oils, cold laser therapy and nights indoors. That didn’t stop Spy-Ex from reporting to the world that my dog Pilot was injured, neglected, abused, no care, blah, blah, blah.

Pilot also free-ran daily, and was in and out of the breeding pen, attending to business there. The shoulder cramp has never returned, and Pilot has been completely healthy ever since. He is now large and in-charge, training for another Iditarod Race.

Barrel houses? We have used plastic dog houses at the racing kennel — ingeniously made from recycled plastic barrels – because they have many advantages. They’re the right size, waterproof and windproof, durable, easy to clean, disease free, low maintenance, and safe for the dog because they can’t chew them up, and the bedding straw stays in them. Google “10 best outdoor dog houses.” They are all made out of plastic, and none offer half the durability and function of these barrel houses. Mushers, there’s nothing wrong with a plastic barrel doghouse except in the coldest climates — a handful of nutjobs chaining themselves to barrels at Chrysler headquarters in Detroit, notwithstanding.

Of course, PETA doesn’t portray them as ingenious dog houses made of recycled materials. No, just barrels. They deceptively compose their photos to hide the attached food pail and the door with straw inside. Just “Chained to a barrel!” they say.

I seriously wonder why anyone even cares what this extremist group has to say. 90% of the people I know think they are bat sh*t crazy. Still, like bad TV, people keep watching more episodes and talking about it. We could all do the animal community a favor and change the channel.

I think a lot of PETA people want to appear to care about animals a lot more than they actually do care about animals. In all of my interactions with them they are not caring people. They don’t have a nurturing spirit. They are angry and bitter, and their message is one of hate toward animal owners, and not much about love toward animals.

We recently replaced the barrel houses at the race kennel with wooden houses, for purely aesthetic reasons. The product review from the dogs? “Meh, whatever.” It cost about $20,000. Hey, since PETA is so concerned about my dog houses maybe they have grants — matching funds or something …. Yeah, probably not. (Btw, our tour kennel in Seward is completely tether free with barn-style group housing.)

This is not the first time my kennel has been infiltrated by a spy. There have been at least two others that I know of. So friends, please be wary of rumors from anyone claiming to be a “handler” or to have firsthand knowledge of a sled dog kennel. These “plants” have an agenda and often create the reported unacceptable situations themselves. “Believe half of what you see and none of what you hear.”

If you naively think PETA actually cares about animals, bless your heart. They don’t. Maybe some of their members and donors do care. Shoot, if their accounts were true, and they were actually helping animals, I might even donate. But it isn’t true. And they don’t help animals. Their true mission is to raise money, over $60 million annually. Please Google it, friends. We’re not in the dark ages and it’s our responsibility to be informed. They aren’t an animal rescue organization. By some accounts, I rehomed more dogs in 2016 than PETA did. That would be seven.

This corporate espionage tactic is being widely used by PETA and they make no bones about it. They must think people are stupid. But people surely realize an organization which gains access by lying, will not then report truthfully.

I admit, I have been naïve. I take people at their word until they show they can’t be trusted. It has cost me, dearly at times, but I’m happy being open minded and trusting. The personal price of being bitter and cynical is greater than the loss of one’s possessions, and even one’s reputation. But there are limits, and lines have been crossed.

These spies have tell-tale signs, in retrospect. They aren’t really interested in being a musher after all. They talk a lot about dog care but don’t really care about doing it. They quiz you about things that aren’t really relevant or any of their business. They want to catch you in a contradiction or trip you up with your words. (Of course, you might be on video camera.) As a kennel owner you find yourself wondering “Why is this person even here?” Then it will be their section of the yard that suffers for dog care, either through their indifference, or as they attempt to create a situation to “report” to PETA.

Spy-Ex is a big ol’ boy, and because he was a complete novice and not particularly gifted athletically, I would only let him run a very small team of dogs. He kept asking for more dogs and I kept saying no, for safety reasons. I now revel in the thought of him jogging behind that sled, huffing and puffing up the hill we call “Everest” every day, with just 4 dogs, while the other trainers and teams waited for him. Ah, the glamour and intrigue of international espionage. Spy-Ex, your parents must be proud.

Mitch Seavey is a dog musher from Sterling, Alaska, who won the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in 2004, 2013 and 2017. At age 57, Seavey was the oldest person to win the Iditarod (2017).

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • PETA does not believe that animals should be owned by humans or kept as pets. PETA would rather euthanize adoptable animals and has done so. You can google all the articles about the number of adoptable pets this organization euthanizes. They’ve even gone so far as to steal people’s pets and euthanizing them. They’ve been caught on video and sued. Recently, they bought stock in Facebook. Oddly enough, then facebook won’t allow rehoming of pets on their platform. As a cat foster for a couple of rescue groups, this has caused a HUGE problem, since we can no longer advertise adoptable pets on Facebook. If we do, we run the risk of having not only the page they are advertised on shut down, but our own personal pages shut down. (This warning was directly from Facebook). I’d love to see a class-action lawsuit against PETA for their nefarious actions and for duping donors into thinking they actually care about how animals are treated. Mitch is absolutely right when he says they lie. PETA is a tower that is long past due to be toppled.

    • PETA operates a desperately needed shelter of last resort for animals who need euthanasia to end their suffering (many of whom have been rejected by other facilities). This includes dogs who are aggressive and unadoptable because they have been kept chained their entire lives; feral cats dying of contagious diseases; animals who are wracked with cancer; elderly animals who have no quality of life and whose desperate guardians brought them to PETA because they can’t afford to pay a vet to euthanize them; and the list goes on. A painless end is a kindness for these animals, and the services PETA provides are vitally needed in an area where many people can’t afford to take their animals to a veterinarian. The owner of the dog, referenced above has acknowledged in a written statement that he realizes that her death was a tragic mistake. His family has expressed gratitude to PETA for its services to the community, and PETA made a donation to the Virginia Beach SPCA in her honor.

      • Excuse me, but there are MANY more than the one reference! I do believe you have partaken of the kookaide…excuse me…that’s koolaide, because PETA is also well known for euthanizing adoptable pets. They have stolen many pets, not just one. The owners of the dog I’m thinking of, sued PETA, because they stole a little girl’s dog OFF HER FRONT PORCH! There are MANY instances of them stealing people’s animals and euthanizing them, so either you are lying or you are willfully ignoring the truth!

      • Well at least so they say but I don’t buy it. Here is an article from HuffPost written 2018. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/killing-animals-petas-open-secret_b_59e78243e4b0e60c4aa36711 And there is also a web site called PETAkillsanimals.com where the defense that PETA takes in aunadoptable or sick animals is addressed. Let readers decide.

  • Thanks for you own Expose, Mitch! I kinda wish you revealed his parents’ names or big ole boy at least! Alaska is a small town and sometimes carma can run over your dogma! Sorry to hear this crap. And I am glad your hands are clean. Heck, rehoming more dogs that PETA all year should be enough!

  • Bravo Mitch Seavey! Thank you.

  • Dear Mr. Seavey, I have been a big fan of yours for decades and totally agree with your article and support your point of view. I thought we ran PETA out of the state some years ago but I guess I was wrong. Their kind of like Equine Rescue who I invited to my place right after we got horses 30 years ago, thinking they could offer constructive criticism and help me take better care of my horses. I knew very little about taking care of horses up here, having come from eastern Oregon cowboy country. It was quickly evident they weren’t there to help but to find issues to cause me trouble. Not a single suggestion nor compliment. A total false front, just like PETA. I have no idea what motivates people like this, other than raising money for their own twisted reasons. Stay the course my hero, and know that you have a lot of fans that support you.

  • I think it is time for the Iditarod to retire. Several major sponsor have already pulled out of their participation. I personally don’t like that the dogs are chained up outside all year. At least let them roam around.. if they are chained it only benefits the sled owner not the dog itself.. This is my opinion and yes I do live in Alaska and I have seen the sled races. Regardless of what PETA did I really don’t see a need to have a race like this anymore, even if it is tradition .

    • Just the thought of having large numbers of sled dogs roaming around is beyond comprehension IMO. There has been a few kennels that have experimented with keeping them together in large pens but, I believe, the results have not gone well. The fighting and damage from that was the reasoning.

    • I have more than enough sled dogs that come roaming into my yard. Many of which are mean, and several have come on my porch and started a fight with my dog – right in front of her bed!! – and she is super friendly…but will fight if a dog starts one with her. She’s not tough enough for many of these dogs; I’ve had to break them up. They have injured her.

      They also steal food, so no food outside – on my porch – in the winter.
      The dog owners not only don’t care, they’ll blame the property owner!! And the noise…I was here before any of them.
      The old-school dog-runners are considerate…mostly earlier than 30 years on.
      Also, for those who suggest talking to the kennel owners…forget it. Tried to reason with them for years. The most arrogant, inconsiderate bunch I’ve ever encountered.
      And the racket!
      These dogs don’t howl, or bark for a little bit. They scream. Endlessly. All I can envision is the scene in Braveheart where he’s being disemboweled alive. And if the owners were to holler at them to pipe down, I’d hear it. They don’t. And they don’t care.

  • Sounds like you’re making up excuses and lies after getting busted abusing animals. Just stop your bad behavior instead of lying. Shame on you.

    • Sounds like you don’t know what you’re talking about, but like to listen to the BS instead of checking it out for yourself. Have you ever taken a tour of his kennels?

  • Mr Seavey, you can justify all you want but the bottom line … nonhuman animals should not be exploited for human entertainment or sport. Run a marathon on your own two feet or hop on a bike or skidoo. Chaining these dogs 24/7 goes against their very nature of socialization. They are pack animals. Your guardianship of these beautiful sentient beings has been exposed. The sad part is, you do t think anything you’ve done is wrong. Hell, it may even be legal — but legality does not equal morality. I pray PETA succeeds in dismantling the Iditarod, the Yukon Quest and any other race which exploits these dogs. Sponsors are waking up. They don’t want to be attached to animal abuse. 🙌

  • Mitch got it right in the first paragraph. This is, indeed, a “tale”. Any time animals are (ab)used in activities where there is pride, prestige or profit to be had, the potential for their suffering is limited only by the capacity of humans to “justify” it. The sled dog industry in general and extreme races where dogs are run to their deaths in particular are no exception.

  • Sounds like sour grapes to me. Why is someone a spy if reporting the truth with raw footage. Pictures of hundreds of dogs chained for life to barrels and boxes and having to poo, pee and eat in one small radius does not lie. “Mush with Pride” the overiding body that makes the rules for how Sled Dogs are kept IGNORE all proof and science that shows that chaining is detrimental to a dog on all levels: Emotionally, Psychologically, Physically and Mentally. But these dogs ARE commodities, that’s why running them to death, leaving injured dogs, like Katherine Keith’s PARALYZED dog Birch, to drag her self around in the bitter cold, STILL chained mind you, is business as usual.
    Pictures and videos do not lie. That huge infected wound on that dog;s neck from trying to escape his chain was not just a nik. Just saying something doesn’t make it so Mitch.
    As far as Peta, by the time an animal gets to Peta it is so un adoptable, so abused and victimized, putting them down is the only humane thing to do. If you want to be upset about the numbers they put down, be upset about the number of abuse cases in our society.
    As for Mitch, you said in the books you wrote yourself:

    “My boys are always looking for faster ways to do their chores. I suppose that is why they started using a propane torch to ‘candle’ dogs’ feet. That in turn explains why, upon entering the shop one winter’s day, I observed the back half of my best leader apparently going up in flames. This gives a whole new meaning to the term, ‘Put the dog out, son!’”, .

    “To my dismay, there has been a ‘sissification’ of our sport over the last few years because of outside pressure and the general ‘pansifying’ of our culture. A lot of mushers spend way too much time justifying themselves and the sport, talking about how good they are to their dogs, how happy their dogs are, etc. I’m not going to do that here.”

    “You are training piranhas here. This is very important so they always, always, eat what you give them right away. … Good eaters are made, mostly, in the puppy pen.”

    “These dogs are hardy survivors of the harshest elements and of necessity were culled by their ancient masters to only the individuals that would perform as needed.”

    . “Remember, you are not collecting pets here. You are assembling a team of top athletes.”

    “Tie the pups up [at] around six months of age.”

    And so on and so forth, culling (killing) pups with pink pads or because they seemed slow.
    Sorry Mitch, but this is what happens with the Global Information age- Stuff gets out.

  • This man did nothing but make a long list of excuses and is obviously hoping people will buy what he’s trying to sell. He is in complete denial of the truth of how sled dogs are cared for.

  • Let’s talk about the issue here, and that is dogs being used, abused and exploited.They can try to put the blame on PETA for other issues that has nothing to do with dog sledding in Alaska. Just stop making a living off the backs of animals. Use your own power and brains (if you have either) to earn.

  • PETA doesn’t care about animals? But you do? The person who chains them to barrels (made from “recycled” plastic, good for you!) so that they cannot chew them? Why are they chewing their huts, out of boredom and frustration? What happens to the dogs you breed that do not make the grade for you? Do you take the time to find them loving, stable homes? To measure if something is humane put yourself in their place, how would you like to be chained up in extreme weather conditions? Forced to run, sometimes with painful injuries? You are in this for your own financial gain and to fuel your huge ego. I believe that deep down you know what you are doing is wrong. Why else would you be so afraid of the public finding out the truth? Whenever innocent beings are industrialized, abuse and suffering are involved.

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