Feds Cite Local Exotic-Animal Auction Over Vet Care Failures, Dangerous Conditions

For Immediate Release:
April 19, 2022

David Perle 202-483-7382

Cookeville, Tenn.

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 with 15 citations for failing to meet even the minimum care standards required by the federal Animal Welfare Act. According to an inspection report just obtained by PETA, the following violations took place at an early March event at the Wilson Horse & Mule Sale stockyard:

  • 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 that a veterinarian had approved the euthanasia procedure. 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.)

“Exotic-animal auctions are nightmarish for animals, who are confined to cramped cages, traumatized by loud crowds, and denied veterinary care,” says PETA Foundation Associate Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Debbie Metzler. “PETA is calling on everyone to stay away from exploitative auctions like Triple W that blatantly disregard animal welfare laws.”

PETA notes that Triple W has a long history of USDA citations, including failing to provide animals with adequate shelter during auctions held during inclement weather, keeping animals in cages with soiled bedding, and failing to provide animals with potable water. In September 2021, the USDA cited Triple W for accepting over 40 animals from unlicensed dealers. In May 2021, a zebra escaped from an auction.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—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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