On Monday September 17th it was brought to our attention that the Board of Directors of The American Museum of Agriculture purchased 2 Mules for the sole purpose of killing them and sending them to a taxidermist to use in an exhibit at their museum.
The same day, museum issued the following statement on their Facebook page:
For Immediate Release:
The American Museum of Agriculture is dedicated to creating a world-class facility that exhibits and explains the growth and development of agriculture in the Southern High Plains region of the United States. As part of our efforts, we have contracted with Museum Arts of Dallas, Texas, to aid in the design and construction of several of our featured exhibits.
One of those exhibits is a McCormick reaper that has been meticulously restored and is on permanent loan to the Museum from the Glasscock County FFA chapter. 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. Our board did consider the use of fiberglass replicas but were advised that the impact of the exhibit would be substantially diminished. Mr. Phil Paramore of Museum Arts said, “The reason that you use a real animal is to most accurately show the way the activity was done at the time. 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.”
After an exhaustive but fruitless search for preserved, exhibit-quality animals, one of our board members learned that an area horse and mule trader had purchased a pair of mules that would fit our needs. According to the owner, the animals had reached the advanced ages of about 28 and 32, respectively, and were no longer sound or strong enough for normal use. 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 educational exhibits for years and years to come.
At Ranch Hand Rescue we believe that all life is precious and important. We believe that to purchase an animal for the purpose of killing it so that it can be placed on display in a museum is unacceptable in any circumstance. Your statement claims real animals were necessary to most accurately show how the activity was done at the time. This could have been accomplished by saving the two mules, providing a loving and caring environment for them in their later years until they passed away or by creating a live exhibit which would have benefited both the museum and the mules by providing them a loving home. Educating people is the means through which the aims and habits of a group of people sustain from one generation to the next. What are you teaching our next future generation and others through your actions?
We reviewed the website for The American Museum of Agriculture and we understand their mission, purpose and vision. We believe their overall goals and intentions are good, however we believe this was a poor decision and not in line with the good reputation they have built and we hope this will never happen again.
Ranch Hand Rescue believes that euthanizing an animal in an effort to create an artifact or object for display is unethical. We stand firm on the belief that in order to correct this audacity the remains of the animals need to be buried with dignity. We respectfully request that The American Museum of Agriculture turn over the remains of these mules to Ranch Hand Rescue for a proper burial rather than be displayed at the museum. Please support our cause by signing the petition below so together we can make this happen.
"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." Ghandi