Exotic-Animal Horror Show Must Close: Auction Handlers Shown Terrorizing and Abusing Wildlife

PETA Video Footage Reveals a Wallaby, a Coatimundi, and Other Animals Being Roughly Handled

For Immediate Release:
January 25, 2022

Nicole Meyer 202-483-7382

Shelby, N.C.

A PETA eyewitness investigation into the Shelby Alternative Livestock Auction at the Cleveland County Agriculture Livestock Exchange shows vulnerable species of animals—including wildlife native to other countries—being physically abused, roughly handled, and tormented by roustabouts with apparently no knowledge of or interest in their treatment and needs:

  • Workers kicked animals, hit them with poles, dragged goats by their horns, and held a frantic, flailing wallaby and a coatimundi upside down by the tail.
  • A worker slammed a baby goat’s head into metal fencing.
  • Workers lifted animals—including terrified nocturnal and prey species—into the air and jostled their cages, while auctioneers and sellers yelled.
  • A zonkey struggled and cried out when his leg was caught in the door of a pen, and he was seen limping in pain after he was finally freed.
  • Exotic cattle up for auction, including zebu and Watusi cows, were skeletally thin, with plainly visible ribs and hip bones.
  • Animals, some of whom had been hauled for hundreds of miles, were jammed into crowded pens and improvised cages so small that they couldn’t fully stand or turn around.

Video and photos from the investigation are available here and here.

PETA sent formal complaints this morning to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), requesting an investigation into violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act, and to Cleveland County Animal Services, requesting an immediate investigation into multiple apparent violations of county and state animal protection laws. PETA is also urging the operators of the Cleveland County Agriculture Livestock Exchange to cancel the exotic-animal auction planned for March 18 and 19 and to prohibit exotic-animal auctions on its premises, as handlers and operators clearly don’t know even basic animal-handling methods to reduce fear, panic, and pain.

Clients at the auction included the owner of notorious Iredell County roadside zoo Zootastic Park—which has been repeatedly cited by the USDA for failing to provide animals with adequate veterinary care, among other violations—who bought birds and offered servals, cranes, a parrot, and a wallaby for sale.

“Animals at the Shelby Alternative Livestock Auction were kicked, chased, hit, and screamed at before being sold,” says PETA Senior Vice President of Cruelty Investigations Daphna Nachminovitch. “PETA wants this to be the last time that wallabies, swans, zonkeys, and other vulnerable exotic animals are abused at the Cleveland County Agriculture Livestock Exchange.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat, use for entertainment, or abuse in any other way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information on PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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