A national animal welfare group is asking for a federal investigation into a Macon, Mo., animal dealer after a video surfaced allegedly showing abusive practices. The dealer has denied the allegations.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said in a Dec. 8 press release that Lolli Brothers Livestock Market, during its July Alternative Livestock auction, violated the federal Animal Welfare Act by roughly handling some animals, cramping others in filthy substandard cages and selling emaciated cattle.
“The neglect, crowded and filthy cages, and cruel handling at Lolli Bros. show why it’s so important never to acquire animals from auctions, breeders, fairs, or anywhere else except animal shelters,” says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet. “PETA is calling on authorities to investigate this evidence of inadequate enclosures and suffering animals and, if warranted, throw the book at this atrocious dealer.”
PETA said the video was submitted by a concerned citizen. In one clip, it shows handlers roughly pulling several emus in the auction ring. In another clip, an auction worker dangles a 2-year-old wallaby by the tail. In another, a worker hits a camel in the head repeatedly with a paddle at the end of a broomstick.
Several animals in the video and photos were confined to cramped and dirty cages. A capybara’s cage was so small that he or she could barely turn around. A cat was documented frantically scratching the side of his or her cage, and a zebra was pacing back and forth — which the group said was a sign of severe psychological distress.
Three cows in the photos and video were also severely underweight, with bones protruding their skin. Lolli Brothers on Monday denied any wrongdoing.
“These allegations are absolutely false,” the auction said in an emailed statement after the Moberly Monitor-Index provided it a copy of the video. “Representatives from the USDA are present at our auctions, as well as the Missouri Department of Agriculture. An accredited veterinarian is present during our sales to ensure the health and well being of the animals.”
Lolli Brothers in the past has come under scrutiny several times for controversial practices.
“Boo Boo,” the Missouri black bear whose appearance at Washington University in 2014 resulted in a rabies scare, passed through the Lolli sale barn on his journey to the campus. USDA also issued an official warning against in 2013, for failure to provide litter to absorb and cover excrement in cages transporting rabbits and a primate.
In 2012, according to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, a federal investigation associated brother Jim Lolli, who no longer runs the company, with the illegal sale of black rhinoceros horns.
The owner of a water buffalo accompanied his animal into the sale ring in 1992, where the animal became agitated and attacked. A ring man attempted to intervene in the attack and was rammed into the fence of the sale ring, sustaining a fractured left femur and injury to his left knee.
PETA too is no stranger to controversy. It has come under fire several times in recent years for its practices regarding euthanasia. The organization said it helps as many as 25,000 animals a year, spaying and neutering many for free. But the shelter’s euthanasia rate— more than 1,400 of about 2,000 animals in 2016 — has drawn criticism from some in the so-called “no kill” shelter movement, the Associated Press reports.
PETA said its euthanasia rate is high because it takes animals other shelters refuse.
USDA said on Monday it could neither confirm nor deny an investigation was underway.
“Animal Care inspectors conduct inspections of licensee and registrant animals, records, and facilities to assess compliance with the AWA and its regulations, and document their observations and professional assessments in inspection reports, and that these reports do not constitute a finding of a violation,” the department said.
“A finding of a violation is made only by a judge, after the person is given notice and the opportunity for a hearing.”
The video depicting alleged animal welfare violations at Lolli Brothers is available on YouTube at www.youtube.com/watch?v=HYnNjqoyySQ.
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