Animals at auction often endure horrific conditions, none more so than "spent" dairy cows and non-ambulatory cattle. Our investigations at the
in California have shown over and over the inhumane, and frankly, atrocious treatment that cattle face at the hands of auction employees.
These poor creatures are callously shocked with electric prods if they can't walk, in a vicious attempt to get them to move. When this doesn't work, they are brutally pushed by forklift, hauled by rope, or dragged by chains. Many times, the sick or injured animal dies before the auction can be concluded - left all alone, laying on the asphalt of a parking lot or in a manure filled back pen, languishing in pain from its injuries.
Sadly, auctions like Escalon exist all across the country - and our latest investigation in Billings, Montana highlighted this gruesome reality.
|bull found suffering at Billings Livestock Auction
One of the main slaughter horse sales in the country, Billings Livestock Commission also deals in cattle, sheep, and other farm animals. Our investigations have shown that the
condition and treatment of the animals at this auction, across the board, are routinely poor. Although we have reported violations on numerous occasions, no enforcement action has ever been taken. Following our recent investigation, we are once again disappointed by the lackadaisical attitude of law enforcement to the abject cruelty needlessly inflicted upon a living, breathing creature where humane euthanasia was plainly warranted.
During our visit on October 28th, investigators found a large, Angus bull left in a pen all by himself, laying absolutely motionless and drooling - clearly in severe distress. Although auction employees passed by the pen many times, no-one paid any attention to the struggling animal - and not one worker thought it important enough to get help or veterinary care. It was as if the bull was invisible or simply not worthy of their time.
|bull being moved in jaws of bobcat
While the obvious indifference displayed by the auction came as no big surprise, investigators were stunned when the bull was later moved -
in the grapple jaws of a bobcat - to a more remote area of the auction property. Obviously still alive and alert, the pain and fear from being manhandled in such a brutal way must have been intense. Utterly appalled at the way they moved him, our investigators were still almost relieved - thinking that surely, the auction planned on euthanizing the animal.
However, that was not the case.
Unceremoniously dumped next to a manure pile, the bull's misery was not yet over. A truck carrying a tank with an unknown liquid was seen pulling up next to the bull and once it left, the bull's face and the ground surrounding his head were clearly doused with a wet substance.
Although it was unclear what had been done to the bull,
the results were unmistakable: no longer alert, the bull's eyes were bloodshot and had rolled backwards into his head. His breathing was labored, and his legs were jerking sporadically as his body appeared to spasm and rear up - he was in obvious agony.
Having called the police to get help in ending the bull's pain and suffering, we were met with an indifference that equaled that of the auction's. Refusing to take immediate action or even considering initiating charges against the auction,
the responding officer instead sympathized with the auction
, apparently having "grown up on a cattle farm."
We were horrified when the bull was not euthanized on the spot - despite the urgency of the situation and pleading from our investigators, and instead was
left to suffer as the police officer, apparently completely unconcerned with the bull's condition and the terrible pain under which he clearly still struggled, chose to "go and talk with someone," presumably at the auction's office.
|despite pleading with the officer, no immediate action was taken
Unable to return to the bull's location since auction employees had evidently been alerted to the situation, and left without any update at all from the officer, we can only hope the bull was ultimately put out of his misery through humane euthanasia.
Surprisingly, even after the fact, pertinent information as to the bull's demise was certainly not forthcoming from the responding officer or the Yellowstone County Sheriff's Office. The
provided upon our request was completely redacted - even going so far as to remove the circumstances of the complaint itself. In fact,
we were denied any and all information
as to the incident, action taken, and follow-up (if any was even taken) by the sheriff's office.