Museum Kills Two Mules For ‘Realistic’ Display

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.


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Photo Credit: SusanEAdams


John B.
John H6 years ago

I thought about a msg regarding progressives & Texas but why bother; besides, the two aren't
completely independent

Laurie S.
Laurie S6 years ago

I've now seen two comments that say the animals were much younger than stated. If so, they needed to get older animals, but if the animals were young, why did the drover want to sent them to the slaughterhouse in the first place?

Second... don't look now, but the Native American tribes are indeed engaged in getting exhibits changed out because the contain real (live) dead people who were sent to a taxidermist. This was done in the past (19th century and perhaps early 20th) when humans of other skin colors were not given any respect. It's not what's next, this sort of thing has already happened before. Thankfully they appear to be making headway in their case and some exhibits are being dismantled.

Third,"Its a shame they were killed before they could reproduce?!" THEY ARE MULES. Mules are sterile, they DON'T reproduce. Duh. (shakes head)

Laurie S.
Laurie S6 years ago

That last was...

I too consider this a non story.

Laurie S.
Laurie S6 years ago

According to the story, they were very old and were about to be shipped to a Mexican slaughterhouse, where they would have been stunned, killed with a hammer (We hope. Some animals survive the hammer and endure the next two steps...), hung, gutted, (now THAT'S a horror for the animal if it doesn't die right away) cut apart and ground into dog food. I am of course assuming that the Mexicans don't eat mule meat anymore than we do.

So, what part of being humanely euthanized is worse than all of that? Sure, it would be great if they used a fake display, but these mules were already going to die. Letting them die of old age first doesn't work, because then you are taxidermying two dessicated skeletons with mangy fur on them, also not a good display.

We live in the world folks; old farm animals don't retire, they are killed. I supported the Death with Dignity Act here in Oregon, where we decided that with proper controls to filter out the merely depressed, that terminally ill patients with less than 6 months to live should be allowed to make this choice for themselves. We should give ourselves the advantages of the pain free death we give them. Less religious nonsense, more self chosen self willed euthanasia for humans with terminal conditions!

I had cancer, and thank Goddess survived it, but not before I saw both of my parents die slow, so I know. Living things die. Opposing the exhibit won't change that.

I'm not going to get any brownie points for this, but I too cons

Ky Gouen
Ky Gouen6 years ago

Killing just for some extra visual appeal? Unnecessary and cruel. I would feel nothing if those responsible died painfully.

Duane B.
.6 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson6 years ago

tragic. and sad

Beth M.
Beth M6 years ago

Disgusting and immoral.

Sheri D.
Sheri D6 years ago


Debra Griffin
Missy G6 years ago

Wtf that's just wrong!!!