Interview with American mink farmer, Bob Zimbal

Bob Zimbal is a mink farmer from Wisconsin, on the shore of Lake Michigan. The Zimbal Minkery has raised mink for 60 years.

“What I like about mink farming is the fact that you’re outside working with the animal,” says Bob. “I think any type of farming you do, you have to have some kind of love of animals to do that because, you know, in the end that’s what we do every day." 

To opponents of fur, Bob has this to say. “Everybody has the right to choose not to eat meat, not to wear fur, not to use leather. They have the right to their opinion, but also they should respect our right to our opinion, and if we choose to wear fur, that’s our choice.”

The Zimbal Minkery is keen to spread a positive image of mink farming, and gladly opens its doors to visitors. “We do quite a bit of tourism. We’ll probably in a year get 500 people through our farm at various times, and a lot of times the comment we’ll get is, ‘Oh, you’re almost like a recycler. You’re using all the by-products that aren’t for human consumption, and you’re recycling this and making it into a beautiful mink skin which can be used for a garment’.”

“What I always like when people come to our farm and look, I like to compare it to other types of agriculture. If you’re a dairy farmer or an egg producer, you become an expert at your field, and we as mink farmers, we’ve become experts in the fields of the nutrition and the management of the animals. I don’t care if you’re raising mink, you’re raising chickens or cows, for the farmer raising them, it’s in his best interest to give those animals the best care, the best food, the best veterinarian care, because in the end the better you care for your animals, the better they will produce for you.”