PETA Buys TV Blitz to Blast Exotic-Animal Auction

For Immediate Release:
March 25, 2022

Brooke Rossi 202-483-7382

Shelby, N.C.

Local television viewers are getting a behind-the-scenes glimpse into a North Carolina exotic-animal auction, courtesy of a new PETA TV spot that exposes auction workers kicking, hitting, dragging, and otherwise abusing vulnerable animals at the most recent event in Shelby.

The video asks viewers to help stop the suffering by visiting PETA’s website, where they can urge the owners of the Cleveland County Agriculture & Livestock Exchange—the site of the last auction—to ban all exotic-animal sales.

“Workers at the last Shelby Alternative Livestock Auction were caught on video kicking and whipping animals as well as holding terrified animals by just their tails,” says PETA Vice President of Evidence Analysis Dan Paden. “PETA is asking everyone to join us in rejecting these cruel exotic-animal auctions, which don’t belong in North Carolina or anywhere else in the 21st century.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has cited the stockyard for violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act based on PETA’s footage of a coatimundi screaming and chittering out of terror while being auctioned off; a wallaby being dangled by the tail, causing him to struggle frantically; and an oryx who was nearly struck by a collapsing wall panel while breaking through makeshift corrals in a bid to escape his confinement. The agency also cited the stockyard for illegally selling animals from unlicensed dealers.

Earlier this month, the auction was canceled while PETA supporters were holding a protest (photos available here) to demand that the stockyard’s owners, Drs. Steven and Melissa Matthews of Vale Veterinary Hospital, stop the auction from going forward—but the veterinarians have yet to commit to banning exotic-animal auctions from their property permanently.

Video and photos from PETA’s investigation are available here and here.

PETA’s video spot is running on WSPA-TV (CBS) out of Spartanburg, South Carolina, and on WJZY-TV (FOX) out of Charlotte.

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 or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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