The American Museum of Agriculture in Lubbock, TX prides itself in creating authentic exhibits that explain the “development of agriculture in the Southern High Plains region of the United States.” Their latest exhibit pushed this goal into the macabre when the museum bought two old mules for the purpose of having them euthanized and preserved by taxidermy so their bodies could be used in an educational display.
According to a news release from the museum, the mules were purchased for an exhibit showing a McCormick reaper, the earliest piece of mechanical farm equipment.
The release said, “With the assistance of Museum Arts, we have installed a very realistic exhibit showing the reaper and its operation. To complete this exhibit, Museum Arts strongly recommended that we obtain professionally preserved mules in full harness to allow our visitors to understand how essential animal power was to this stage of American agriculture.”
Some at the museum wanted to use fiberglass replicas of the animals, but the board of directors and exhibit designers recommended against it.
“The reason that you use a real animal is to most accurately show the way the activity was done at this time,” said Phil Paramore of Museum Arts. “A fiberglass replica just doesn’t convey the same message.”
A board member found a pair of old mules and convinced the mule trader who owned them to sell them to the museum. The mules, aged 28 and 32 years old, were apparently about to be transported for sale to a Mexican slaughterhouse.
News about the purchase drew outrage from local animal activists who quickly came together to save the animals. Several offered to take the mules home and let them live out their days on a pasture, before being preserved for all time.
Despite the criticism, museum officials stood by their decision. They reported, “…the mules were humanely euthanized by a licensed veterinarian and will become excellent educational exhibits for years and years to come.”
Take Action: Please sign the petition to Stop American Museum of Agriculture From Using The Lubbock Mules.
Photo Credit: SusanEAdams