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Tennessee Livestock Auction Receives More USDA Citations After Second Animal Dies This Year

A Tennessee livestock auction is facing more citations from the US Department of Agriculture after an animal in its care died for the second time this year.

The Triple W Arena, also known as the Wilson Horse & Mule Sale, was hit with USDA citations 15 times in March and 11 times in September, Fox 17 Nashville reported.

During a routine inspection on September 8, the USDA reported that a black male llama was found dead in a pen. Shortly after, the inspector spotted a member of staff watching the llama who explained that the animal had spent the morning sitting. The abnormal behavior went unreported because the employee assumed supervisors and auction owners already knew about it.

At one point, the llama was moved to the sales ring, but the staffer told the inspector “he eventually had to die” when he was put back in the pen, according to the report. The inspector later learned that the llama sold out at 11:41 a.m.


FILE – Black llamas stand in a snowy pasture at a llama farm.
(Karl-Josef Opim/picture alliance via Getty Images)

The auction was cited for failing to report animal health and behavior abnormalities in a “timely and accurate” manner to the attending veterinarian.

Some of the other quotes listed in the September report include: not handling animals as “quickly and carefully as possible”, selling wild or exotic animals to people without proper licenses, several instances of using improper enclosures to transport non-human primates and other animals, shelter and living conditions in some outdoor enclosures, housekeeping issues such as litter and other non-animal related items in enclosures, and failure to not move animals directly from one enclosure to another.

The Nashville outlet reported that there were also more quotes from previous years.

A Google Earth image shows the entrance to the Triple W Arena and Livestock Auction in Cookeville, Tennessee.
(Google Earth)


Debbie Metzler, director of captive animal welfare for PETA, told Fox 17 that the latest set of quotes for Triple W Arena show the animals in their care are in a “constant and terrifying nightmare.”

“They’re in a constant state of stress and for some of them they won’t even make it out alive,” Metzler told the outlet. “For those who do, it’s only the beginning of their misery.”

Metzler also noted a case, which was included in the USDA report, where a goat was kicked until the staff member noticed the inspector was watching him.

USDA citations from earlier this year report that a zebra was euthanized by gunshot after being in “distress and pain” for hours with a possible broken back. A bison was also reportedly struck in the face with a five-foot stick.

“The USDA really needs to step it up,” Metzler said. “They need to take tougher enforcement action because clearly these wrist slaps aren’t working.”

United States Department of Agriculture Jamie L. Whitten Federal Building entrance sign


Triple W Arena did not respond to Fox News Digital’s request for a statement.

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