“Mink farmers, a small sliver of the Wisconsin population, are set to be among those offered the COVID-19 vaccine next - a choice that might seem surprising.” — “Here's why Wisconsin's mink farmers are among the next in line for the COVID-19 vaccine” Madeline Heim, Post Crescent, January 27, 2021
Dear Wisconsin Department of Health Services,
I am writing to petition for a spot in your upcoming Priority 1B vaccine group. Don't be fooled by the New York City postmark on this letter — I'm a Wisconsin mink farmer, born and bred.
I imagine you might be getting a lot of petitions right now, given the vaccine shortage, so I'll briefly outline my life as a mink farmer so that you will know I'm legit.
My childhood on the family mink farm was rewarding, but it wasn't always easy. By the time my classmates got up for school in the morning, I had been up for hours milking the minks. My shins were always bruised from mink kicks, but my arms grew strong from bailing hay, filling mink troughs with feed corn, and mending fences (no sooner could we get a fence repaired than another mink stampede busted through it. It was endless). I've spent many a night sleeping out in the barn waiting on little mink lambs to be born. Without getting too graphic, I will share with you that I still shudder to remember a few dicey deliveries in which the mama needed help and I was up to my elbows in mink womb. I've watched new minks struggle to rise up on their wobbly legs just minutes after being birthed. I've seen little mink pups take their first steps on spindly legs and bray for their mamas.
When I was a senior in high school, I was the president of both the 4-H and the FFA, and the summer before my senior year I won “Number One Mink” at the Wisconsin State Fair with my prize mink, whose name was, umm, Harry. Harry was originally supposed to be slaughtered for mink meat, but over the summer he befriended a clever spider. It's a long story, but basically, she (the spider) convinced everyone that Harry should live. To say I was relieved is an understatement. Losing Harry would have been too much after what we went through that year. Earlier that spring, my sister Dorothy got swept up in a big tornado. She survived, but only with massive head injuries and some lingering delusions.
Because of her traumatic brain injury, Dorothy isn't much help to Ma and Pa anymore, which is why I need to head home to help them. They're getting on in years, and mink farming is physically demanding, what with the branding and corralling, the shearing and the lassoing. I need the vaccine to protect myself from the minks, who are dropping dead left and right from COVID. Ma and Pa are far-right wingnuts, so I hate to say that I'm not surprised their minks are all dying of COVID. It's not the minks' fault. Without responsible owners to model masking and social distancing, they just didn't know better.
I promise that if you give me the vaccine, I will do better. I'll shoot the mink kittens up with Vitamin D, teach them to wash their hooves for the full 20 seconds, and catch them up on their homeschooling (Ma and Pa are illiterate).
Thank you for considering my very sincere request.
Lars “The Main Mink Man” Larsen