The auction was very crowded and had approximately 300 head of cattle to be sold, mostly Holstein dairy cows. None of the pens contained food or water. Some were extremely overcrowded. Many of the cows showed signs of heat stress, heavy panting, and foaming at the mouth. Apparently one of the pens was designated as a “slow pen”, every cow that arrived at the auction limping, emaciated or otherwise compromised was put into this pen. There were approximately 32 cows in this pen.
Investigators noted that two cows were down. One was down on her side with shallow breathing. Another was down, foaming at the mouth and panting heavily. Most of the cows that showed signs of lameness were unable to bear weight on all four legs. Some cows were holding one of their legs up and were trying to move on the remaining three – a condition which makes them unfit for transport, since these cows are likely to become downers on the trailer and being trampled by other cows. A bull was brought into the alley with a broken left front leg. The workers then ran the bull up and down the alley on three legs.
Two auction employees tried to move one of the downed cows. One worker pulled the tail and a second worker applied an electric stun gun to her rib area. After several applications of the stun gun, the cow unsteadily rose to her feet. This type of behaviour is unacceptable. Animals’ Angels will continue to monitor the auction and has reported this incident to auction management and the authorities.