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Editorial: Mules in permanent display: animal abuse, say protestors
About politics and other thingsSeptember 26, 2012 | 1,331 views | Post a comment
From the NYdailynews.com: The American Museum of Agriculture in Lubbock, Texas, plans to construct a display for the McCormick reaper, a piece of mechanized equipment that revolutionized agriculture in the 19th century.”
According to a press release received by the Wilson County News last week, the display would include two stuffed mules. The headline on the press release read: “Stuffed mules on display? ‘No way,’ says animal rights advocate.”
Other headlines and stories about the mule display proliferate the Web. An equine-rights advocate protested that two mules were euthanized “for the sole purpose of stuffing them for an exhibit.”
There were claims that this was “unethical,” despite the fact that the old mules would otherwise likely have been sent to Mexico to be used for dog food.
“The reason that you use a real animal,” said Phil Paramore of Museum Arts, “is to most accurately show the way the activity was done at the time.”
A petition protesting the permanent display of the mules is being circulated, asking, instead, that the mules be “properly buried.” It was not right, claimed one protestor, for the American Museum of Agriculture in Lubbock to “put down two mules for a permanent farming exhibit.”
“A life is a life,” claims a North Texas animal rights advocate. In a statement, the museum said the aging mules were no longer strong enough for normal use. Ramona Foxworth of Lubbock disagrees. “That is wrong to be so callous with life,” she said. “Just because something is old, it still deserves whatever days it has left.”
As I was contemplating this interesting debate over displaying mules in a museum, I received a press release about another display in a museum.
“Mummies of the world exhibition makes Texas debut at the Witte Museum,” read the headline. “The highly anticipated Mummies of the World exhibition will make its Texas debut at the Witte Museum on Saturday, September 29. ... This astonishing collection of mummies and related artifacts includes a 6,420-year-old child mummy from Peru, dating 3,000 years before King Tut. ...” It said that this is the largest exhibition of real human mummies ever assembled.
Mummies are human bodies whose skin and organs have been preserved to prevent decay. They make interesting and popular displays in museums.
This reminds me of another similar display: “Our Body: The Universe Within.” It is a “fascinating, artful and educational exhibition consisting of actual human bodies and organs. ... this exhibit literally goes ‘under the skin,’ revealing the amazing mysteries of the human anatomy.”
The exhibition, using actual human specimens, came to San Antonio and Austin a couple of years ago. It provides an up-close look “inside the skeletal, muscular, reproductive, respiratory, circulatory and other systems of the human body,” reads the Facebook Page.
“Get your tickets at Ticketmaster!” reads the Web page.
It boasts that bodies and organs are preserved using a process known as polymer impregnation to reveal the “extraordinary inner workings of the human body,” and explains that people can examine the human body as a whole or in parts or layers. Continuing throughout the exhibit, the visitor can examine each of the body’s major systems on display with actual preserved human bodies.
In either exhibit, is it abuse or education? You decide.
For more information and the locations of the human exhibits in “Celebrate the Wonder of the Human Form,” go here: www.bodies theexhibition.com.
Or, to protest the display of the mules in a farm exhibit, go here: http://chn.ge/ UD3aqR.
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