assed. It took them a long time to die. I remember hearing their gasps and screams, and I remember having to pry their jaws from the wire mesh once they went silent.
After they were killed, I piled their warm, soft bodies into a wheelbarrow. I wheeled them to the mink shed just outside the pelting shed and positioned their bodies so as they stiffened, they would be easier to skin.
I remember how the minks within eyesight or earshot reacted to the cries of their dying mates, how by the hundreds they bobbed and paced frantically inside their tiny pens. One mink, a beautiful smoky gray female, died as she was pulled from her pen. She screamed, and then simply went limp.
In the preceding hours, she had watched and listened as others were pulled from their pens and killed. I always believed she knew what was happening around her and what was about to happen to her. I believe she died from sheer terror.
Grandpa’s mink farm wasn’t my only fur farm experience. My family lived a half-mile from the largest fur farm in southern Idaho. Minks, foxes, bobcats, even wolves, were raised for their pelts.
While doing my morning chores, I remember hearing the foxes yelping as they were electrocuted. Despite the distance, their sharp cries carried clearly through the crisp morning air.
Minks and foxes are wild animals. Although they’ve been kept in captivity for many years, they’ve be