Chatfield Chinchilla Mill Faces Criminal Investigation After PETA Probe

Pus-Filled Eyes, Exposed Bones Found at Supplier Warehousing Hundreds of the Animals Sold to Laboratories, Pet Trade

For Immediate Release:
February 18, 2021

Moira Colley 202-483-7382

Chatfield, Minn.

A PETA undercover video investigation into Moulton Chinchilla Ranch near Chatfield, which supplies animals to U.S. laboratories and the pet trade, has revealed that chinchillas were suffering from open wounds, exposed bones, infections, and other painful injuries and untreated ailments. As a result of PETA’s findings, local officials executed a search warrant and are conducting a criminal investigation. PETA’s investigation video is here, and photos are here.

A PETA eyewitness who worked at Moulton Chinchilla Ranch gathered evidence showing that nearly 1,000 chinchillas on the premises were confined to cramped, exposed wire cages. Chinchillas were denied veterinary care for abscessed and ruptured mammary tissue and protruding or pus-filled eyes, among other serious conditions. One chinchilla died after being deprived of veterinary care for a raw, bloody wound, and another died after the breeder’s dog attacked her and she suffered overnight without care. One chinchilla had a large mass under the chin—the mill owner admitted to killing this animal and other chinchillas by snapping their necks, which does not cause a quick or painless death.

Moulton Chinchilla Ranch sells the chinchillas to laboratories. Staff affiliated with the University of Minnesota (UMN) as well as the National Institutes of Health, the Navy, and Harvard Medical School and numerous universities in the U.S., Germany, and China have experimented on them. Records show that experimenters at UMN have induced painful ear infections in chinchillas by injecting a strain of streptococcus pneumoniae in the animals’ ear tissue. Some of them developed meningitis and were killed.

“Moulton Chinchilla Ranch has kept animals continuously confined to wire cages—which allows them nowhere to hide, a basic need of ‘prey’ animals—left them to suffer and die without even minimal veterinary care, and sold them to laboratories to be further harmed and killed,” says PETA Senior Vice President of Cruelty Investigations Daphna Nachminovitch. “PETA is calling on every laboratory that has done business with this chinchilla mill to stop using these vulnerable animals in experiments.”

PETA has also submitted evidence to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which has cited Moulton Chinchilla Ranch for more than 100 federal Animal Welfare Act violations since 2013 and, in 2018, filed a formal complaint against the mill, which is pending.

PETA opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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