Irving-based ExxonMobil has pulled its support of the Iditarod, the notorious annual dogsled race in Alaska.
According to a release, the company has cut ties and will no longer offer financial support for the event after 2021.
ExxonMobil has sponsored the Iditarod since 1978, funding it to the tune of $250,000 per year for the last several years alone.
Its decision to cut ties with the race follows appeals from nearly 100,000 PETA supporters, “Closed for Cruelty” PETA protests outside dozens of gas stations and ExxonMobil’s Irving headquarters, and a billboard and bus ads, among other efforts.
PETA had other campaigns in the works, including ads in the Anchorage Daily News and the Texas edition of The Wall Street Journal, as well as than a dozen protests across the country, which it will now suspend.
The organization is also withdrawing a 2021 shareholder resolution that asked ExxonMobil to end all sponsorship of activities in which animals are exploited, harmed, or killed.
Dogs used in the Iditarod are forced to pull heavy sleds for nearly 1,000 miles through blinding blizzards and subzero temperatures.
More than 220 dogs were pulled off the trail during the 2020 race because of exhaustion, illness, injury, or other causes.
The race’s official death toll of more than 150 dogs doesn't include those who were killed because they weren’t fast enough or who died during the off-season while chained up, a practice exposed in a PETA undercover investigation.
"PETA and kind people everywhere are cheering ExxonMobil’s decision to put the brakes on fueling cruelty to dogs," says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. "No reputable company wants to associate with a race that forces dogs to run until they collapse, and PETA is calling on the few remaining holdouts like Millennium Hotels and Resorts to cut ties with this spectacle of suffering."
Exxon joins a host of companies who've cut ties with the race including Alaska Airlines, Chrysler, Baird Private Wealth Management, Coca-Cola, Costco, and Jack Daniels.