Breaking: Auction Workers Convicted of Animal Cruelty Following MFA Investigation

ols 56.jpg
Horrifying undercover video footage of animal abuse secretly recorded by Mercy For Animals at Ontario Livestock Sales - the largest livestock auction in southern California - has led to criminal convictions of two of the auction's employees.

Earlier this morning, workers Gustavo Rivas and Miguel Patino Torrez pled no contest before San Bernardino County Superior Court judge Barbara Buchholz to charges that they violated California's criminal animal cruelty laws by kicking, throwing, and beating animals and leaving sick and injured animals to suffer and die.

The workers were ordered to pay court fees and fines totaling $290 each, to pay $250 each to the Inland Valley Humane Society, and were sentenced to two years probation and barred from working with, owning, or possessing animals for five years. Five other workers have also been charged. Their cases are still pending.

Late last month, auction owner Horacio Santorsola was also convicted of criminal cruelty to animals for selling, holding, and transporting "downer" animals who were too sick or injured to stand up or walk, in violation of Section 599f of the California Penal Code. Mercy For Animals praises the San Bernardino District Attorney's Office for pursuing justice in this important case.

During the course of this investigation, MFA's investigator documented:

  • "downed" animals - those too sick or injured to even stand or walk on their own - being left to slowly suffer and die without food, water or veterinary care
  • sick, injured and dying animals being kicked, pushed and dragged into transport trucks to be sold and slaughtered for human consumption
  • workers throwing, beating, stomping on and kicking animals in the face and body
  • workers grabbing, dragging and throwing animals by their heads, necks, ears, horns, tails, and legs, and
  • birds stuffed into bags and goats, sheep and other animals overcrowded into small pens, forcing animals to stand on and even trample each other

You can watch the undercover video here:


Sadly, several MFA investigations at livestock auctions across the country demonstrate that these types of abuses are all too common.

As we continue to expose the horrifying practices inherent in animal agriculture and work diligently to hold animal abusers accountable under the law, consumers still hold the greatest power of all to end the needless suffering and death of farmed animals by adopting a compassionate, vegan diet.