AA investigators arrived at the weekly auction at 10:00am. The parking lot was already crowded with stock trailers from Indiana, Michigan, Kentucky and Illinois and a long line of pick-up trucks was waiting to unload. Inside the barn, the majority of the pens were already occupied. Some of the pens with heifers and feeder cows were extremely overcrowded and gave the animals no room to lie down. No food or water was available in any of the pens. Some of the baby calves were very young with their umbilical cords still attached and were barely able to walk.
Towards the back of the barn were the pens with all the former “dairy” cows. Many of them were in appalling condition, limping skeletons with heavy, full udders. Some of them were so thin that their hip bones appeared to be protruding through their skin and bleeding sores were visible. Struggling to stay on their feet, several of them were panting and foaming from the mouth. Investigators noted that one of them apparently already died that morning and had been discarded in a corner pen next to the bobcat. The auction tag was still attached and no bullet hole was visible.
At 1:00pm, investigators watched workers moving sheep and goat closer to the auction ring. The handling was extremely rough and the sheep were pulled and carried by their ears and necks, kicked with full force and thrown through the air several feet. At the auction ring entrance, they were squeezed in between the pen railing and a heavy, metal gate.
The “butcher cow” sale was last and investigators watched as the cows slowly fought their way to the auction ring. Someone with an apparent sick sense of humor had painted green $ signs on the hips of the most emaciated ones.
By then, the auction ring was almost empty and only a handful buyers for the slaughter plants were left. Three semis from Pennsylvania and Ohio with double deck trailers arrived and pulled close to loading ramps. One can only imagine how many of these animals barely able to walk will be still standing upon arrival at the slaughter plant.
The investigation revealed that the auction has not improved and not learned from previous exposures.