Failing to provide a severely injured zebra with adequate veterinary care, smacking a bison with a 5-foot stick, and leaving an agitated camel vulnerable to unmonitored public contact—these are just a few of the issues that prompted the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to slap the Triple W Exotic Animal Auction, held quarterly each year at the Wilson Horse & Mule Sale stockyard in Cookeville, Tennessee, with 15 citations for failing to meet even the minimum care standards required by the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA).
Exotic-animal auctions are nightmarish for animals, who are confined to cramped cages, traumatized by loud crowds, and denied adequate veterinary care.
A March USDA inspection report obtained by PETA includes the following citations for Triple W:
- Failing to provide an acutely injured zebra who was unable to get up or move his back legs with timely emergency veterinary care (Auction workers claimed that the zebra may have fallen and broken his back and planned to kill him by gunshot—after an auction finished—despite lacking documentation to show veterinarian-approved euthanasia procedures. The zebra suffered all afternoon—unattended and crying out—even after USDA inspectors insisted that he receive immediate treatment.)
- Failing to appropriately diagnose and treat a zebra with fresh-looking wounds on his lower left leg
- Hitting bison directly on the face and head with the end of a 5-foot stick, causing the animals discomfort and distress
- Failing to erect barriers between the public and a young camel who showed signs of agitation, including swaying back and forth and crying out, as people crowded around to touch him and take photographs
- Failing to maintain sanitary and dry enclosures (Stray pieces of sharp-edged metal were found in an enclosure with two water buffaloes, while several enclosures were reported to be wet—some with no dry areas for the animals.)
PETA notes that Triple W has a long history of receiving USDA citations, including for failing to provide animals with adequate shelter during auctions held during inclement weather, keeping animals in cages with soiled bedding, failing to provide animals with potable water, and failing to provide injured animals with adequate veterinary care.
In September 2021, the USDA cited the auction for accepting over 40 animals from unlicensed dealers, and in May 2021, a zebra escaped from a Triple W event.
Never Attend an Exotic-Animal Auction
Please don’t fund the suffering of animals exploited for entertainment. Stay far away from wildlife auctions: Never buy any animals or attend an exotic-animal sale. Urge your friends, family members, and social media followers to do the same.