On Sunday the 12th of May, ten Danish fur breeders opened up their mink farms to the public and I went and visited one of those farms. Even though I have worked with mink before and know about the daily life of the farm pretty well, I still feel that there’s something very special about the first time you are visiting a new farm. The farm I visited in Denmark is placed on the west coast of Jutland and Jens Peter Christensen who owns the farm invited everyone interested in to see what his daily work life entitles.
The sweet smell of frying sausages, the sound of the children playing around on the bouncy castle, the softly chattering of ladies looking through different types of fur samples and all the men wising in on the newest farming equipment were just some of the things that hit me and my father when we entered Jens Peter’s farm Sunday afternoon.
The farm consists of long outdoor sheds and a large mink barn, which was the main area for the guided tours as the weather was not exactly showing itself from its best side. The only preparation for entering the farm area was that we had to dress our shoes in a plastic cover in order to avoid the spread of bacteria to the farm otherwise we were allowed to walk around as we wished.
20 other fur breeders had showed up at Jens Peter’s farm to help out with the guided tours and in general answer any questions the visitors may have had. I talked to some of the different farmers and they were all of the impression that every one of their visitors got answered all their questions.
The farmers also told me that the most surprising thing for the visitors was the lack of noise in the sheds and the barn. All the females were crawled up in their nests taking care of their puppies and only peeping out now and then to take a look at the people looking into their homes.
Many of the visitors I talked to had never seen a mink nor the inside of a mink farm and they all agreed that it has definitely changed their views on the industry. The quietness of the animals and the professional farmers talking passionately about the animals were factors that most of them had not expected.
It is evident that many myths and prejudices exists about fur farming and this was also clear when the European Fur Information Center in January conducted a survey about fur and fur farming in Europe. The survey showed, among other things, that most Europeans change their mind on the industry if they have visited a fur farm. It was therefore very eye opening for me to experience an open farm event with my own eyes and see how much a difference open doors does for the public.
I ended the afternoon at Jens Peter’s farm with a hotdog and a soda and just as we left the farm, it started to rain. A perfect afternoon spent in the company with animals, farmers and happy children.
Read more about the open farm event in Denmark here: Kopenhagen fur