Chinchilla Supplier to the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation Faces Criminal Investigation After PETA Probe

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

For Immediate Release:
February 18, 2021

Contact:
Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Oklahoma City – PETA fired off letters this morning to Joseph Harroz Jr. and Stephen Prescott, the presidents of the University of Oklahoma (UO) and the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation (OMRF), respectively, calling on the institutions to stop buying chinchillas to experiment on. The letters come after a new PETA undercover video investigation into Moulton Chinchilla Ranch, a massive breeding mill in Minnesota that supplied chinchillas to the Oklahoma laboratories, 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.

A PETA eyewitness who worked at Moulton Chinchilla Ranch gathered video footage and photographs showing that nearly 1,000 chinchillas on the premises were confined to small, exposed wire cages. The animals 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. Yet another had a large mass under the chin. The mill owner admitted to killing this one and others by snapping their necks, which does not cause a painless or quick death.

Moulton Chinchilla Ranch sells the chinchillas to laboratories, and staff affiliated with UO as well as the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Navy, Harvard Medical School, and numerous universities in China, Germany, and the U.S. have experimented on them. Records show that experimenters at OMRF inflicted hearing loss in chinchillas by restraining them in small wire cages and blasting them with 105 dB of noise for six hours before killing them and dissecting their ears. Experimenters at UO induced painful ear infections in the animals by injecting a strain of influenza in their ear tissue. They were kept alive for up to eight days and then killed.

“Moulton Chinchilla Ranch kept animals continuously confined to wire cages, which gave 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 did 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 violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act since 2013 and, in 2018, filed a formal complaint against the mill, which is still pending.

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

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“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind