Lubbock museum euthanizes mules for farm display
LUBBOCK — The American Museum of Agriculture has purchased two old mules and euthanized them for a farm display.
The mules, preserved by taxidermy, will be used for an exhibit with a piece of 19th century farming equipment that mechanized harvesting.
According to a news release from the museum, the mules were purchased for an exhibit showing a McCormick reaper, the earliest piece of mechanized farm equipment.
The release states the exhibit was planned after consultation with Museum Arts of Dallas.
The news release states, “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.”
The board was advised against using fiberglass replicas, according to the news release.
“The reason that you use a real animal is to most accurately show the way the activity was done at this time,” Phil Paramore of Museum Arts said in the release. “A fiberglass replica just doesn’t convey the same message. When we can find animals that were scheduled to be destroyed anyway and then immortalize them in an exhibit, we can really show their importance in the development of agriculture.”
The release states a board member learned of an area horse and mule trader that purchased a pair of mules that met the needs of the museum.
A Facebook page dedicated to “Save The Lubbock Mules!” was created on Monday in opposition of the idea.
The group reached 351 members within five hours. The Facebook group has generated national attention.
The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal received phone calls from people in California and North Carolina speaking against the museum’s decision.
“According to the owner, the animals had reached the advanced ages of 28 and 32, respectively, and were no longer sound or strong enough for normal use,” the release states. “Had the museum not purchased these animals, the next option for the trader would have been to sell them to be transported into Mexico for slaughter for dog food. Instead, the mules were humanely euthanized by a licensed veterinarian and will become excellent education exhibits for years and years to come.”
Attempts to contact the museum’s board of directors were unsuccessful. Messages were left, and no calls were returned.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.