An undercover PETA investigation into Moulton Chinchilla Ranch (MCR), a huge chinchilla breeding factory in Chatfield, Minnesota that had approximately 1,000 chinchillas confined in wire-mesh floor cages in a shed that stank of ammonia, found that these exotic animals were denied not only everything that is natural and important to them but also the most basic needs, such as effective veterinary care for chronic infections and severe, life-threatening injuries that caused suffering and even death…
Based on PETA’s evidence, law enforcement agents conducted a raid on MCR and launched a criminal investigation.
Chinchillas are active and curious animals, who love to run, jump and climb (activities that are extremely important to their physical and psychological health), but at MCR, they remained confined in small desolate, rusty cages with a wire mesh floor. They had nowhere to take refuge or hide, something extremely stressful and terrifying for these nocturnal prey animals.
Charlene was not treated for this excruciatingly painful foot injury, which resulted in a bloody stump with exposed bones. The PETA investigator rescued her. He took her to emergencies, she underwent surgery and she continues to heal.
The dirty shed was crammed with cages, the walls and ceiling covered with insect debris.
There were feces piled up just outside the shed, and some even entered the shed through a door. Many of these social animals, who in the wild live in herds of up to 100 individuals in the Andes Mountains, were locked up alone in cages. Others were so tightly packed into cages that they could barely move.
Some only had a piece of wood to sit on or chew on. No toys, no place to lie down, no environmental enrichment.
Deprived of everything that is meaningful to them, chinchillas in these stressful and inhumane conditions mutilated themselves and their cage mates, a sign of severe stress. One young animal had its ears practically bitten off.
Others, like one whom the PETA investigator called Casper, suffered severe fur loss.
The females wore metal collars to prevent them from escaping from the males, who repeatedly impregnated them to sell their babies to laboratories and the pet trade. A dead baby chinchilla was found.
Unnatural and highly stressful conditions led chinchillas to bite their fur and that of other chinchillas.
Open wounds and exposed bones
The MCR owner consistently denied the animals veterinary care and pain relievers for their devastating and even fatal wounds.
A chinchilla named Charlene was found with a mutilated foot. The breeder failed to provide veterinary care for this excruciating injury, resulting in a bloody stump with exposed bones. However, the PETA investigator rescued her and rushed her to a vet.
She had to have her leg amputated.
The breast tissue of another chinchilla, named Tina, had an abscess the size of a cherry tomato, and after days without treatment, the abscess finally ruptured.
Instead of taking her to a vet, the owner just doused the open wound with iodine, which did nothing to ease her excruciating pain.
A chinchilla named Clara had not received pain relievers to relieve her from several cuts on her abdomen that exposed the tissue under her skin.
And another chinchilla had a raw, bloody wound at the base of its tail. MCR’s owner left her without veterinary care for weeks, until she died.
After his dog attacked a chinchilla, the breeder left the traumatized animal alone in a cage overnight without treatment.
The next morning the chinchilla was dead.
The owner nonchalantly said that he would freeze her remains and skin her, ostensibly to sell her fur. Another chinchilla was found dead with blood coming out of its mouth and nostrils.
The breeder said that he had died of “pneumonia.”
Protrusion in closed, pus-filled eyes
In MCR, many chinchillas suffered from chronic diseases or eye injuries.
The breeder said a sick chinchilla (whose bulging eye had apparently lost sight) had “a little infection,” but left it to languish without care. The eyes of other chinchillas were totally closed with a putrid discharge, sunken in their sockets, or strongly inflamed and filled with pus.
Chelsea was not given veterinary care for her badly injured eye, which protruded from her orbit. The breeder brushed it off, saying there was “nothing wrong with the deformation and discoloration of her eye.”
This chinchilla, who according to the owner had pneumonia, had difficulty breathing and tried in vain to clean the thick discharge from her eyes and nostrils.
In October 2020, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) sent MCR a subpoena (as it has done more than 100 times since 2013) for inadequate veterinary care for two chinchillas with eye discharge, but this warning was not enough to force the breeder to help the animals (!!!)
About six weeks later, the animal’s eyes had closed from secretions.
Chelsea was also not provided veterinary care for her severely injured and/or diseased left eye, which had become inflamed and dislodged from its socket.
Chloe’s teeth were overgrown, even curving over her cheek, something that can cause abscesses and make eating difficult and painful. Her fur was tangled because she struggled to groom herself. The owner of her did not provide care for this condition, speculating that the cause of it would be a fractured jaw.
Chloe’s teeth were overgrown. The owner speculated that she “probably fell and fractured her jaw” but did not provide veterinary care for this dangerous and potentially painful condition.
Break necks to earn money
Another chinchilla had a bulging tumor the size of a ping pong ball under its chin.
The owner said he killed her and other chinchillas by breaking their necks and parodied a USDA veterinarian (who had evidently and rightly expressed concern about this crude method of killing) for having a “tantrum.” (!!!)
Despite being aware that several sick and injured animals were in urgent need of medical attention, the breeder took 40 recently purchased chinchillas to a veterinarian to obtain the necessary documentation to transport them across the country and earn money.
This chinchilla had a tumor the size of a ping pong ball under her chin. The owner said he killed her and other chinchillas by trying to break their necks.
No water for days
Veterinary care was not the only vital thing that the MCR owner failed to provide the animals: he deprived them of water for at least five days. The animals, desperate with thirst, drank continuously for more than three minutes when the PETA researcher gave them access to a water source.
The owner said he spent a mere 45 minutes a day tending to 1,000 chinchillas, less than three seconds per animal. Many of these meticulous animals had matted, oily fur, the owner admitted that it was because they did not have the opportunity to take dust baths.
This chinchilla was missing most of the fur on its tail.
From shocking negligence to electric shock
MCR has been selling chinchillas for over 50 years, including laboratories and the pet trade.
Animals that survive this hideous confinement are doomed to be subjected to gruesome experiments and to be sold in pet stores across the country and abroad.
Chinchillas’ large, expressive ears make them popular targets for invasive ear and ear infection experiments.
Experimenters using RCM chinchillas have pierced their eardrums with knives, injected bacteria into their ears, subjected to loud sounds for hours, pierced holes in the skull, and applied electric shocks if they pressed a lever at the “wrong” time when searching food
Chinchillas sold to the pet trade also suffer.
Impulsive buyers are unprepared for the complex needs of these exotic animals, who require ample space to exercise, specialized veterinary care, frequent dust baths, low temperature and humidity, and more.
Consequently, chinchillas bought as “pets” are often neglected and even abandoned.
And I mean...The USDA has been warning the operators of this concentration camp since 2013.
And that is still active?
Obviously, they know that they have nothing to fear.
If such crimes are demonstrably taking place on a farm, that farm should be closed.
Without ifs and buts!
If I ignore a red light while driving, I will be banned from driving and my driver’s license will be suspended for a certain period of time, depending on the judgment. Although I haven’t broken anyone’s neck!
But the judiciary is criminal-friendly when it comes to breeders, laboratory researchers, and other animal torturers.
That is the principle of this system: stick together
My best regards to all, Venus