Iowa State Fair “Butter Cow” sabotaged with red paint & slogan
Activists hide out inside fair building and sabotage the iconic “butter cow” in Iowa.
A group calling themselves “Iowans for Animal Liberation” took credit Monday for infiltrating the Agriculture Building overnight, and pouring red paint over the world famous Iowa State Fair “Butter Cow”. In a statement, the group stated the paint “represents the blood of 11 billion animals murdered each year in slaughterhouses, egg farms, and dairies.”
A slogan was also left on the glass case housing the sculpture: “Freedom For All.”
For over 100 years, the life-sized “butter cow” has been a staple of the Iowa State Fair, attracting nearly 1 million visitors annually. It is widely held as a symbol of, and source of pride for, animal agriculture in Iowa.
In an anonymous statement released Monday, the group described how they infiltrated the building and carried out the action:
“We hid inside the Agriculture Building and emerged after closing. After dismantling the lock to the refrigerated case housing the Butter Cow with a screwdriver, we doused the entire butter sculpture in red paint… We then left a painted message on the glass of the display: ‘Freedom for all.'”
This is the second successful infiltration of the Butter Cow display. In 2011, anonymous individuals took credit for bypassing a guard in the Agriculture Building, scaling a wall in a back hallway, entering the refrigerated case with the sculptures, and and affixing a sign reading “Go Vegan.”
Police stated they are reviewing security footage at the Butter Cow to identify suspects.
The action has become one of the largest sabotage-related media stories in recent memory, with coverage on most major news sites, and even sparking comment from Iowa’s governor:
“I think it’s a despicable act. First of all, I love the Iowa State Fair, I love the butter cow. Attacking the butter cow, that’s personal.”
Iowa state senator Chuck Grassley also weighed in on the action, saying:
“There’s a good way and a bad way of expressing your opposition to animal agriculture, whether it’s in an academic way or a political way or whether it’s in written intellectual statements or whether it’s out on a soap box.”
Media coverage has also focused on the history of the Animal Liberation Front in the state. Past ALF actions have included the largest mink release on record (14,000 mink from an Iowa farm in 2000), and a raid at the University of Iowa (401 animals removed from labs in 2004).
With the media quoting heavily from the communique, this action served as a delivery device to bring the plight of animals into the minds of millions of people nationwide. One frequently used excerpt, quoted in places such as the site for Time Magazine, read:
“We intend this action to serve as a wake up call to all who continue to consume meat, dairy, eggs, leather, and all animal products: You are directly supporting suffering and misery on the largest scale the world has ever known.”
The full statement of responsibility reads:
“Iowans for Animal Liberation is taking responsibility for destroying the iconic Iowa State Fair ‘Butter Cow’ on the night of August 10th.
We hid inside the Agriculture Building and emerged after closing. After dismantling the lock to the refrigerated case housing the Butter Cow with a screwdriver, we doused the entire butter sculpture in red paint. The paint represents the blood of 11 billion animals murdered each year in slaughterhouses, egg farms, and dairies. We then left a painted message on the glass of the display: ‘Freedom for all.’
We intend this action to serve as a wake up call to all who continue to consume meat, dairy, eggs, leather, and all animal products: You are directly supporting suffering and misery on the largest scale the world has ever known.
Each year, nearly 1 million people visit the Butter Cow, a life-sized cow sculpted out of butter. Let this action be a reminder that this attraction represents the suffering of billions of animals each year: animals stolen from their mothers on dairy farms, imprisoned in cramped cages on egg farms, ground up alive in hatcheries, and hoisted by their legs while their throats are slit in slaughterhouses. The Butter Cow is a symbol and celebration of this mass murder.
The Iowa State Fair has attempted to cover up this action from the media and fair-goers since it was discovered early Sunday. With this communique, we are submitting a link to a photo of the sabotaged Butter Cow, taken the night of the action.
If factory farmers continue to lie to the public that their farms are ‘humane,’ then they will be happy to accept our challenge:
Allow the media and public into your farms.
Allow the media and public into your slaughterhouses.
Nothing to hide? Let us inside.
Iowans for Animal Liberation”