Texas museum kills mules for farm exhibit

A century ago, wealthy explorers - and even legitimate biologists - were known to travel the world and wontonly kill animals for study and to put on exhibit at museums.

Seems a Texas museum is bringing back that tradition.

Two live mules were pulled from an auction pen, slaughtered and stuffed for display for a new exhibit at the American Museum of Agriculture in Lubbock.

The museum couldn't have found two stuffed mules on Ebay? Or constructed fake mules?

The Humane Society of the United States is condemning the museum's action.

“The killing and stuffing of animals solely for museum exhibits is frivolous and unnecessary,” said Katie Jarl, Texas state director for The Humane Society of the United States. “These two mules apparently served their owner well for decades, and should have had the opportunity to be re-homed and live out the rest of their lives at a sanctuary.”

The museum defended the killing of the mules, saying it was advised by another museum against using fiberglass models. It said actual mules would realistically show how the equines pulled farm equipment.

“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 museum said in a press release.

The museum also said rather than sending the aged mules to slaughter they were humanely destroyed by a veterinarian and will be enjoyed by visitors 'for years to come."

Word of the mules' fate prompted outrage across the country and inspired a Facebook page "Save the Lubbock Mules," according to the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal newspaper.

The mules were apparently purchased from what is known as a ‘killer buyer’ who ships healthy horses – often obtained at auctions outbidding horse rescue groups -- to Mexico and Canada for slaughter so their meat can be exported to countries that consider horse meat a delicacy.

 The U.S. Congress is considering the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (S. 1176/H.R. 2966,) which would ban the slaughter of horses, including export for slaughter in other countries.