Lab and pet supplies supplier keeps hundreds of chinchillas in cramped cages in a terrifying breeding factory
Video Take Action DONATE NOW
Secret PETA investigation Moulton Chinchilla Ranch (MCR) is a large breeding plant near Chatfield, Minnesota, where about 1000 chinchillas imprisoned in cages with a wire floor in a barn soaked in ammonia – it turned out that these sensitive exotic animals were denied not only everything natural and important for them, but also basic life needs, including effective veterinary care for chronic infections and severe, dangerous lives of trauma that made them suffer and even die.
Based on PETA evidence, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at MCR and opened a criminal investigation.
Charlene was denied veterinary care due to this excruciatingly painful foot injury that left a bloody stump with exposed bones. The PETA investigator saved her. She was urgently taken to the veterinary care, had an operation, and she continues to recover.
Nowhere to run or hide
Chinchillas are active, curious animals that love to run, jump and climb – activities that are extremely important to their physical and mental health – but at MCR they were constantly kept in small, sterile, rusty cages with wire floors. They had nowhere to hide or hide, which was extremely intense and frightening for these nocturnal predators.
The cages were packed in a dirty barn, the walls and ceiling of which were covered with insect waste. There were piles of feces just behind the barn, and some even flowed back in through the door. Many of these social animals – which naturally live in herds of up to 100 people high in the Andes – were kept alone in solitary cages. The rest were caged so tightly that they could hardly move. Some only had a piece of wood to sit or chew on. There were no toys, bedding, or any environmental items.
Deprived of all that matters to them, chinchillas have crippled themselves and their cagemates in these extremely stressful, inhuman conditions, a sign of severe suffering. One young animal was nearly ripped off its ears.
Others, including one of PETA’s investigators named Casper, suffered severe hair loss. Metal collars prevented female chinchillas from escaping from males, who were allowed to fertilize them over and over again so that their cubs could be sold in the laboratory and sold as pets. One chinchilla cub was found dead.
The unnatural, extremely stressful living conditions forced the chinchillas to gnaw their own fur and the fur of other chinchillas.
Gaping wounds, protruding bones
The owner of MCR has consistently refused veterinary care and pain relief for the animals for severe and even fatal wounds.
One chinchilla named Charlene was found with a disfigured leg. The breeder declined veterinary care due to this excruciating injury, which left a bloody stump with exposed bones. However, the PETA investigator saved her and immediately took her to the veterinary clinic. The leg had to be amputated.
The abscent tissue of the mammary gland of another chinchilla named Tina swelled to the size of a cherry tomato and – after several days without treatment – eventually burst… Instead of getting her veterinary care, the breeder simply treated her open wound with iodine, which did not relieve the excruciating pain. A chinchilla named Clara did not receive pain relievers due to several open cuts on her abdomen that exposed tissue under her skin.
Another chinchilla had a fresh bloody wound at the base of its tail. The owner of MCR left him without veterinary care for several weeks until he finally died.
After his dog attacked the chinchilla, the breeder left the injured animal alone in the cage overnight with no worries. She died the next morning. The breeder said casually that he would freeze her remains and skin her – apparently to sell her fur. Another chinchilla was found dead, bleeding from the mouth and nostrils. The breeder said he died of pneumonia.
Eyes bulging, filled with pus and closed
Many chinchillas at MCR suffered from chronic eye diseases or injuries.
The breeder said that one sick chinchilla whose bulging eye had apparently lost his sight had a “minor infection” but left him to languish without worry. The eyes of other chinchillas were covered with putrid secretions, sunken into the sockets, or severely swollen and filled with pus.
Chelsea was denied veterinary care due to her severely damaged eye protruding from the socket. The breeder was oblivious to her condition, claiming that her clearly deformed, discolored eye was “okay.”
In October 2020, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) referenced the MCR as before. more than 100 once since 2013 – for failing to provide two chinchillas with eye discharge with proper veterinary care, but this warning was not enough to inspire the breeder to help the animals. Almost six weeks later, their eyes were closed.
Chelsea was also deprived of veterinary care due to her severely injured and / or sore left eye, which was swollen and protruded from the socket.
Chloe’s teeth were overgrown and even curled up on her cheek, which could cause abscesses, make it difficult and painful to eat. Her fur became matted as she struggled to groom herself. The owner denied her care because of this condition, which he suspected was caused by a fractured jaw.
The owner suggested that Chloe “probably fell and broke her jaw,” but did not provide her with veterinary treatment for this dangerous and potentially painful condition.
Break your neck and make a profit
Another chinchilla had a bulging mass the size of a ping-pong ball under its chin. The owner said he killed this and other chinchillas by breaking their necks, and ridiculed a USDA veterinarian who clearly and rightly voiced concerns about this brutal killing method for having a “fierce seizure.”
Although the breeder was aware of several sick and injured animals in need of urgent medical attention, the breeder instead took 40 newly purchased chinchillas to a veterinarian to obtain the paperwork needed to send them across the country for profit.
This chinchilla had a mass the size of a ping-pong ball under its chin. The owner said that he killed this and other chinchillas in an attempt to break their necks.
No water for days
Veterinary care was not the only vital thing the MCR owner was unable to provide –is he do not water dozens of chinchillas for at least five days… The desperately thirsty animals drank continuously for over three minutes when a PETA researcher granted them access to a water source.
The breeder said he only spent 45 minutes a day caring for 1,000 chinchillas –less than three seconds per animal… Many of these finicky animals had oily, matted fur, which he admitted was because they couldn’t take dusty baths.
This chinchilla was missing most of the fur on its tail.
From Shocking Neglect to Electric Shock
MCR has been selling chinchillas for over 50 years, including in labs and pet supplies. Animals that survive from this hideous warehouse are sent to creepy experiments and pet shops across the country and beyond.
The chinchillas’ large, expressive ears make them popular targets for invasive experiments in hearing and ear infections. Experimenters using MCR chinchillas pierced their eardrums with knives, injected bacteria into their ears, fired loud noises at them for hours, drilled holes in their skulls, and shocked them if they pressed the lever at the “wrong” time to find food.
Chinchillas sold in pet supplies also suffer. Impulsive shoppers are not prepared for the complex needs of these exotic animals, which require ample space to exercise, specialized veterinary care, frequent dust baths, low temperatures and humidity, and more. Consequently, chinchillas acquired as “pets” are often neglected or even abandoned.
This chinchilla, which the breeder said had pneumonia, struggled to breathe and tried in vain to clear the thick secretions from the eyes and nostrils.
You can help chinchillas!
Chinchillas from MCR were used by experimenters at the National Institutes of Health; in the navy; at Harvard Medical School; at the universities of Arizona, Colorado, Maryland and Miami; and in many other schools in the USA, Canada, Germany and China. MCR also ships dozens of chinchillas to pet stores and distributors such as the Reptile Express near Fort Myers, Florida.
Join us and encourage these buyers to renegotiate their relationship with MCR immediately. Demand that they help put an end to the atrocities they supported by keeping this mill in business.
And if you plan on adding an animal to your family, always adopt it from an animal shelter or adoption organization –never buy at a pet store or breeder.
If you think you have what it takes to conduct undercover investigations like this, we want to hear from you… Click here to share your thanks with the investigator who revealed this cruelty.