March 25, 2013 — -- ABC News has been honored by the Humane Society of the U.S. with a pair of Genesis Awards for two investigations into animal abuse -- one in the world of high-price horse competition and another at a farm that supplied beef.
At a ceremony in California this weekend, ABC News "Nightline" won a Genesis Award in the category of TV Newsmagazine for its report "The Ugly Truth Behind High-Stepping Horses."
That report, which aired May 2012, revealed that large numbers of the famed Tennessee Walking Horses have been tortured and beaten in order to make them produce the unusual gait that wins championships in the high-dollar sport.
The report included undercover video made by an investigator from the Humane Society, which showed one of the sport's leading trainers beating the horses with wooden sticks and using electric cattle prods on them as part of training protocol.
Following the ABC News report, Pepsi, one of the sport's major sponsors, said it terminated its relationship with the Tennessee Walking Horse championship and officials with the sport implemented intense inspections prior to competitions to check for potential abuse. ABC News tied in that category with NBC's "Rock Center with Brian Williams."
ABC News also won a Genesis Award for National News for a "World News With Diane Sawyer" report that revealed allegations of abuse of cows at a California meat company.
The report, which aired in August 2012, "lifted the veil on our nation's food industry and the horrendous conditions endured by cattle raised for food..." the HSUS said. The report featured undercover video made by an investigator with the animal rights group Compassion Over Killing that showed workers using electric prods on cattle that can barely walk.
In addition to the news pieces, ceremony attendees were also treated to a sighting of the ever-colorful Ke$ha, who was awarded one of the night's highest honors, the Wyler Award, for her work as the Humane Society International's first Global Ambassador for animals.
Last year ABC News' "20/20" was awarded a Genesis Award for an investigation into alleged abuse at so-called factory farms that produced eggs for major U.S. brands, including McDonalds.