Chinchilla Breeder Tied to Publicly Funded Institutions Faces Criminal Investigation After PETA Probe

For Immediate Release:
February 18, 2021

Moira Colley 202-483-7382

  • Pus-Filled Eyes, Exposed Bones Found at Supplier Warehousing Hundreds of the Animals Sold to Labs and Into ‘Pet’ Trade
  • Experimenters Include Staff Affiliated With NIH, the S. Navy, Harvard Medical School, and Numerous Universities
  • PETA Calls For Federal Investigation as Local Officials Act

Chatfield, Minn. — A PETA undercover video investigation into Moulton Chinchilla Ranch, a massive breeding mill in Minnesota that supplies laboratories and the “pet” trade, has revealed chinchillas 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 investigative 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 small, exposed wire cages. Chinchillas were denied veterinary care for abscessed and ruptured mammary tissue, protruding or pus-filled eyes, and 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. Yet another had a large mass under the chin. The mill owner admitted to killing this and other chinchillas by breaking their necks, which does not cause a painless or quick death.

Moulton Chinchilla Ranch sells the chinchillas to laboratories, and staff affiliated with the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Navy, Harvard Medical School, and numerous publicly funded universities in China, Germany, and the U.S. have experimented on them. Records show that experimenters have punctured the chinchillas’ eardrums with knives, injected bacteria into their ears, blasted them with loud noise for hours, drilled holes in their skulls, and electroshocked them if they pressed a lever at the “wrong” time in search of food.

“Moulton Chinchilla Ranch kept animals confined to wire cages in which they had nowhere to hide (a basic need of prey animals), left them to suffer and die without even minimal veterinary care, and sold survivors 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’s done business with Moulton Chinchilla Ranch to stop using these vulnerable animals in experiments.”

PETA has also submitted evidence to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which has cited Moulton Chinchilla Ranch for more than 100 federal Animal Welfare Act violations since 2013. In 2018, the USDA also 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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