Feds Cite Chinchilla-Breeding Mill After PETA Undercover Investigation, USDA Complaint

For Immediate Release:
July 8, 2021

Moira Colley 202-483-7382

Fillmore County, Minn. – After PETA submitted the findings of its undercover investigation into Moulton Chinchilla Ranch (MCR) to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the agency inspected the Fillmore County breeding mill and slapped it with a slew of federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA) citations, noting at least 42 examples of violations of four AWA requirements.

According to the June 2 report, which just became publicly available, MCR owner Dan Moulton had not treated chinchillas for—or even noticed that they were suffering from—chronic, painful ailments, including swollen eyes sealed shut with discharge, excessively long teeth and other oral health issues, and hair loss. Chinchillas were found with matted coats, and Moulton admitted that he had been out of dust for the animals to bathe in for three to four weeks. Animals in dozens of cages were exposed to dangerous, sharp metal, and the build-up of waste under hundreds of cages was so excessive that the ammonia odor irritated inspectors’ eyes and throats.

“Dan Moulton has left sick, injured, and even dying chinchillas to suffer without adequate care in his filthy breeding mill for years,” says PETA Senior Vice President of Cruelty Investigations Daphna Nachminovitch. “Since he evidently can’t or won’t provide these animals with the basic necessities of life, PETA is calling on him to shut this hellhole down and let these chinchillas get the care they deserve in appropriate homes.”

The USDA has cited MCR over 100 times since 2013 for failing to meet the minimal care standards of the AWA, which led the agency to file a pending complaint against Moulton alleging that he has willfully violated federal law. The violations have persisted even after local law enforcement executed a search warrant at MCR in January—the findings of which have not yet been released and remain under consideration by a prosecutor.

Photos from PETA’s investigation are available here. PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—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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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“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