Animals’ Angels attended the Tazewell Auction in Virginia. The sale is on Thursday and starts at 6:00 p.m. Our investigators arrived at 6:10 p.m. and the parking lot was crowded. There was one double-deck trailer as well as many stock trailers. Numerous WV license plates were seen.
At this auction, there is a catwalk that overlooks the entire pen area with the pens open to all sides. Only workers are allowed in the pen area. Although the temperature was 80 degrees, there were no fans in place to circulate the air. Sheep were panting in the heat, not sheared. Pens holding horned cows were very overcrowded. The cows could be seen poking each other with their horns which could cause injuries. There was no need to put them all together in one small pen as there were enough empty pens available to segregate them properly. The pen where employees were sorting the goats was quite crowded.
There was no food in any of the pens and some water available only for a select few. There were no injuries noted with the exception of one cow that was observed limping. Many of the cows were very thin.
Approximately 100 sheep, 100 goats, 40 long hair cows, 25 cows, 3 donkeys, 3 pigs and 2 bulls were run through the sale. There were no horses. The sale progressed at a fast rate with animals being in the ring approximately 45 seconds each.
The handling of the animals was satisfactory with the exception of a few handlers who were hitting excessively, hitting in the face for no reason, and slamming the gates. The operator in charge of the hydraulic, remote-controlled door handled it well without squeezing the animals. However, younger workers were observed overcrowding the chute leading up to the auction ring. A worker was also observed jabbing the cows to move them forward in the chute. Animals’ Angels will continue to monitor this auction.