Investigation Exposes Cruelty at Ferret Mill
Investigation Update: U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspectors confirmed PETA’s findings from its nearly four-month undercover investigation of Triple F Farms, Inc. After a federal investigation found violations of at least eight animal protection regulations, Triple F Farms, Inc., agreed to pay more than $16,000 to settle the matter. The company also agreed to pay more than $28,000 to settle 38 violations of federal labor laws uncovered after PETA submitted evidence to the U.S. Department of Labor. Read more about these victories here. The Bradford County District Attorney’s Office found probable cause to file cruelty-to-animals charges but deferred prosecution.
Triple F Farms, Inc. (Triple F), is a Bradford County, Pa.-based ferret-breeding factory farm whose animals are sold to laboratories around the world and pet stores across the U.S., including Petland. Triple F boasts that it is “one of the largest and [most] esteemed ferret producers in the world” and that “[o]ur babies are very special to us.” But PETA’s undercover investigation exposed a massive breeding mill keeping thousands of ferrets confined in crowded, filthy, stiflingly hot barns, where animals suffered chronic neglect and died on a daily basis.
Based on evidence that PETA presented to federal and state law-enforcement officials before releasing the case publicly, the U.S. Department of Agriculture inspected Triple F and at least six federal and state agencies opened investigations of Triple F.
PETA’s investigation found that ferrets were kept grouped in small cages with dangerous metal wire floors, deprived of any opportunity to engage in natural behavior such as burrowing or hiding, and often deprived of food and water. Newborn, young, and adult animals were systematically denied basic and veterinary care for even painful, life-threatening injuries and conditions.
Bloody rectal prolapses, gaping wounds, herniated organs, ruptured and bleeding eyes, infected feet, and inflamed, swollen mammary glands are just some of the ailments that PETA’s investigator saw ferrets suffering and sometimes dying from during her employment at Triple F. Help these ferrets now by taking action. PETA’s investigator routinely brought to the attention of Triple F ownership, management, and supervisors the suffering of individual ferrets at the facility but to no avail. The investigator’s repeated requests for care and speedy euthanasia to relieve suffering were met with blank stares, shoulder shrugs, and general indifference, as the investigator was instructed to “just leave” ferrets as they were.
Hundreds of newborn and young ferrets fell through the gaps in the wire cage bottoms 3 feet to the waste-covered concrete floors below, where they were left to writhe and cry, and they often died of dehydration or starvation within sight of their mothers and siblings. Triple F forbade its workers—including PETA’s investigator—to pick up the dying newborns. Many of them were consequently run over, maimed, and/or killed by carts used to move food and supplies through the facility’s aisles, and many others were stepped on and buried in feces. PETA’s investigator also saw ferrets thrown into the trash—and into the facility’s incinerator—while still alive. Take action now to end this cruelty.
Triple F did not have a staff veterinarian to examine and treat the 6,000 or more ferrets it keeps confined in its sheds on any given day. Lay employees worked in a dusty “surgery room” and used unsterilized instruments—including a dull needle and a razor blade—over and over again to cut organs and anal sacs from ferrets who were not anesthetized properly and “woke up” and cried out. Despite claims on Triple F’s website that the facility was visited weekly by a veterinarian, PETA’s investigator never saw a veterinarian or veterinary technician at Triple F in nearly four months of working there.
PETA has submitted formal complaints to seven federal and state agencies, and investigations are underway. However, we also need you to take action now to help the thousands of ferrets who are suffering at Triple F!
Also, please remember that the animal overpopulation and homelessness crisis is not limited to dogs and cats. Ferrets and other small mammals are also bought on impulse and then left at animal shelters when people have grown tired of them. If you’re willing to open your home to a ferret, please adopt from an animal shelter or rescue group. There are hundreds around the country, so search online or ask your local humane society for a group near you.