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Famed Iditarod Dog Sled Race Begins In Alaska Amid Protests

Scenes from a previous Iditarod dog sled race in Alaska.

Mushers and dog teams participated in a short sprint in Anchorage, Alaska, for the ceremonial start of the famed Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

Spectators on March 3 lined the streets to greet the participants in the 46th edition of the race -- a 1,600-kilometer journey from the small town of Willow to Nome beginning on March 4.

Also at the ceremonies were members of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which has protested the treatment of dogs, noting that five dogs died in 2017.

PETA said more than 150 dogs have died in the race over the years. Iditarod officials denied the figure but did not provide their own count.

The finish line is in Nome on the Bering Sea Coast, where the dog sled teams are expected to reach in eight days.

Based on reporting by AP and dpa