Pet Stores, Vet Tech Program Cut Ties With Chinchilla Mill After PETA Investigation

Group’s Video Exposed Chinchillas With Pus-Filled Eyes, Visible Bones at Breeder Warehousing Hundreds of Animals in Deplorable Conditions

For Immediate Release:
February 24, 2021

Moira Colley 202-483-7382

Chatfield, Minn.

After hearing from PETA about the horrific animal suffering revealed in its undercover video investigation of Moulton Chinchilla Ranch (MCR) near Chatfield, Atlas Pet Supply has dropped MCR as a supplier—its CEO calling conditions there “entirely unacceptable”—and Rochester Community and Technical College’s veterinary technician program has ended its class fieldtrips to the mill. The program head, Dr. Kimberly Rowley, reported being “shocked” and “disturbed” by the findings.

A PETA eyewitness who worked at MCR—which supplies animals to laboratories and the pet trade—gathered evidence showing that nearly 1,000 chinchillas were confined to cramped, exposed wire cages. They were denied veterinary care for abscessed and ruptured mammary tissue and protruding or pus-filled eyes, among other serious conditions. A 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 was left to suffer overnight without care. One chinchilla had a large mass under the chin—the mill owner admitted to killing this animal and other chinchillas by attempting to break their necks, a method considered unacceptable for chinchillas.

“This distributor and community college immediately severed ties with Moulton Chinchilla Ranch after seeing how animals were left to suffer and die without basic necessities of life or even minimal veterinary care,” says PETA Senior Vice President of Cruelty Investigations Daphna Nachminovitch. “This abject neglect is exactly why PETA is calling on every institution that has done business with this chinchilla mill to reconsider its relationship immediately and urging the public never to buy animals from pet stores or breeders.”

As a result of PETA’s findings, local officials executed a search warrant and launched a criminal investigation into MCR. PETA has also submitted evidence to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which has cited the facility for more than 100 federal Animal Welfare Act violations since 2013 and, in 2018, filed a formal complaint against the mill, which is pending.

Photos from the investigation are available here. PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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