For Immediate Release:
December 13, 2021
Moira Colley 202-483-7382
Fillmore County, Minn. – After a new U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspection report revealed that chinchillas’ abject suffering continues unabated at Moulton Chinchilla Ranch, PETA rushed a letter to Gov. Tim Walz today asking him to ensure that the squalid breeding operation’s owner, Dan Moulton, is prosecuted under the state’s cruelty-to-animals statute.
According to the report, inspectors found that Moulton had knowingly denied veterinary care to a chinchilla with an apparently broken leg and “unrelieved pain” and also denied care to a chinchilla with protruding eyes, a drooling chinchilla with a lump under her jaw, and others in desperate need of care. The discoveries came a month after a federal judge in a USDA civil case ruled that Moulton had committed an “astounding” number of animal welfare violations.
Months ago, a PETA investigation revealed that Moulton had denied chinchillas veterinary care for exposed bones, open wounds, and other painful conditions. It took a court order to force local officials to investigate. After it came to light that the Fillmore County prosecutor and sheriff were both social media friends with Moulton, the case was transferred to the Rice County attorney. However, after several months, the attorney cited the USDA’s civil case as a reason not to pursue criminal charges, even though the USDA doesn’t have the authority to enforce state anti-cruelty laws and has not seized a single animal from Moulton’s operation.
“What will it take for law enforcement to do its job and finally secure the welfare of these neglected chinchillas?” asks PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “Local prosecutors have let these animals down, but PETA hopes that the governor—who has a history of being on the right side of animal protection—will finally get them the help that they so desperately need.”
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.