A visit to The Musk Ox Farm in Palmer, Alaska
If you’d like to learn all about musk ox and see them up close (no touchy though!) a visit to The Musk Ox Farm is in order.
A Visit to The Musk Ox Farm
We have some mixed feelings about visiting The Musk Ox Farm in Palmer, Alaska. As vegans, we’re not down with using animals and confining them for our purposes.
But, at least the Musk Ox Farm isn’t raising these animals for meat. They harvest Qiviut, their soft underwool, which is highly prized for its warmth. The Qiviut is gently combed from the musk ox with an afro pick in the summer months when they shed it naturally anyway. People use the fibers in similar ways to sheep’s wool.
The whole idea behind the Musk Ox Farm is to domesticate the animals enough that far north Alaskan natives could keep them as a sustainable farming practice. There are very few opportunities for far north peoples and raising animals already suited to the environment makes sense for them.
So, we get that this visit might be controversial for some vegans. But we also understand that not all cultures have the same opportunities we do.
The tour was thorough, and we learned so much about musk ox! They are not oxen, but more closely related to goats and sheep.
The musk ox population in Alaska was utterly wiped out in the late 19th or early 20th century. Thankfully they have been reintroduced into several wildlife refuges, preserves, and national parks.
While a visit to The Musk Ox Farm was informative, we’d love to see musk ox in the wild someday. They’re usually pretty remote so that may not be in the cards.
Next post: we travel to Girdwood and ride the tram
About the Author
vegan. digital nomad. cycling. scuba. intj. former vegan bakery owner.