Friday, November 28, 2014
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PETA video exposes horrendous conditions at PA ferret mill

The website promotes Triple F Farms in northern Pennsylvania as a family-run business that has raised "fun, fabulous furry ferrets" since 1985.

PETA video exposes horrendous conditions at PA ferret mill

The website promotes Triple F Farms in northern Pennsylvania as a family-run business that has raised "fun, fabulous furry ferrets" since 1985.

"We take great pride in the quality of our animals," it says.

"Our babies are special to us."

But the disturbing video released yesterday by the animal rights group PETA tells an entirely different story.

The undercover footage purports to depict the inside of the huge breeding facility in Sayre that houses 6,000 ferrets bred for pets (the company sells to Petland stores) and research.

Images show hundreds of ferrets, sick, injured and neglected animals - a ferret mill in the state that gained international attention for its dog breeding factories known as puppy mills.

The three-minute video also shows ferrets with gaping wounds, exposed internal organs, ruptured and bloody eyes - all left to suffer with no veterinary care.

There is another image of a dead ferret on the floor that the undercover worker said was run over by an employee pushing a food cart.

"Methods of disposing of newborn and young ferrets included burying them alive in feces and throwing them into an incinerator," the undercover worker stated, "while others were intentionally killed by workers stepping on them and running them over with feed carts."

The report - available on PETA's website - states that the worker, who was employed at Triple F Farms from April to August, did not once see a veterinarian or veterinary technician visit the facility.

"Cruelty-to-animals laws are on the books to protect animals from the kind of abuse and neglect that these ferrets experience every day at Triple F Farms," says PETA Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. "Laboratories and pet shops count on their suppliers to keep the public in the dark about how badly animals are treated in these abusive facilities."

The owner of the farm refused to comment when phoned by a reporter with the Associated Press.

You might ask, was anyone inspecting this place? Indeed they were, twice a year. 

Triple F is a licensed animal breeding operation sanctioned by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Publicly available inspection reports on the USDA's website show Triple F received nearly violation-free inspections since 2009.

One inspection last year notes a missing cover over a ceiling light that the inspector writes might create conditions for the mercury bulb to break and harm the animals.

PETA has filed complaints asking federal, state and county investigators to look into alleged violations of animal welfare and protection laws, medication compounding and handling regulations, and worker health and safety rules.

A USDA spokesman told the Associated Press that the facility was again inspected last week - after a meeting with PETA - and that results would be forthcoming.

 The revelations underscore a troubling pattern with federal inspections of animal research and breeding facilities. Remember the downed cows at the California meat processing plant or the brutal treatment of day-old calves at a veal plant in Vermont.

For years Pennsylvania puppy mill investigators found the same thing: Far too often it takes an undercover investigation of an animal rights group - the same groups that the agriculture lobby continues to fight to keep off their farms - to show the world how the animals used for research, bought as pets or processed for food are treated.

 

 

 

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Amy Worden Inquirer Staff Writer
About this blog
Amy Worden is a politics and government reporter for the Inquirer. In that capacity she has explored a range of animal issues from dog kennel law improvements and horse slaughter to the comeback of peregrine falcons and pigeon hunts. From hamsters to horses, animals have always been part of her life. To pass along a tip or contact Amy, click here. Reach Amy at aworden@phillynews.com.

Amy Worden Inquirer Staff Writer
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