For Immediate Release:
March 1, 2022
Nicole Meyer 202-483-7382
Vale, N.C. – “Vale Vets: Hosts of Animal Abuse”—that’s the message PETA supporters will bring to the Vale Veterinary Hospital on Thursday as they condemn its owners, Drs. Steven and Melissa Matthews, for allowing the abusive Shelby Alternative Livestock Auction to be held on property they own: the Cleveland County Agriculture & Livestock Exchange. The action follows a damning investigation by PETA, which caught workers at last year’s exotic-animal auction on that site kicking, whipping, shoving, and dragging vulnerable species—including wildlife native to other countries, such as wallabies and coatimundis.
When: Thursday, March 3, 11:30 a.m.
Where: Vale Veterinary Hospital, 9286 NC Hwy. 10 W., Vale
At the 2021 exotic-animal auction hosted by the veterinarians, PETA documented the following:
- Workers kicking animals, hitting them with poles, dragging goats by their horns, and holding a frantic, flailing wallaby and a coatimundi upside down by the tail
- A worker slamming a baby goat’s head into metal fencing
- Workers lifting animals—including terrified nocturnal and prey species—into the air and jostling their cages, while auctioneers and sellers yelled
- A zonkey struggling and crying out after his leg became caught in the door of a pen (He limped in pain after he was finally freed.)
In addition, exotic cattle up for auction, including zebus and Watusi cows, were skeletally thin, with plainly visible ribs and hip bones, and animals—some of whom had been hauled for hundreds of miles—were jammed into crowded pens and improvised cages so small that they couldn’t fully stand or turn around.
“No reputable veterinarian would allow their property to be used to hit and kick animals, drag them by their horns, or commit any of the other types of abuse PETA uncovered,” says PETA Vice President Daniel Paden. “If these vets take their oaths seriously, they’ll bar this abusive exotic-animal auction and any others from their property.”
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat, use for entertainment, or abuse in any other way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information on PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.