History of livestock in New Mexico is subject of presentation

Sep 11, 2013

The New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museumís monthly Culture Series continues on Sept. 12 with a presentation on New Mexicoís Spanish Colonial Livestock.

The event begins at 7 p.m. in the museumís theater and admission is a suggested donation of $2.

Our speaker, author William W. Dunmire, has mined the observations of travelers and the work of earlier historians and other scholars to provide a history of livestock in New Mexico from 1540 to the present.

His book, "New Mexico's Spanish Livestock Heritage: Four Centuries of Animals, Land and People" is published by the University of New Mexico Press.

The Spanish introduced European livestock to the New World ó not only cattle and horses but also mules, donkeys, sheep, goats, pigs, and poultry. This survey of the history of domestic livestock in New Mexico is the first of its kind, going beyond cowboy culture to examine the ways Spaniards, Indians, and Anglos used animals and how those uses affected the regionís landscapes and cultures.

The author has mined the observations of travelers and the work of earlier historians and other scholars to provide a history of livestock in New Mexico from 1540 to the present. He includes general background on animal domestication in the Old World and the New during pre-Columbian times, along with specific information on each of the six livestock species brought to New Mexico by the early Spanish colonists. Separate chapters deal with the impacts of Spanish livestock on the stateís native population and upon the land itself, and a final chapter explains New Mexicoís place in the larger American livestock scene.

Dunmire is a retired National Park Service naturalist and is currently an associate in biology at the University of New Mexico and a research associate at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science. He worked at Carlsbad Caverns National Park for 28 years and has written six books about New Mexico.

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For information contact Craig Massey at craig.massey@state.nm.us.