The iconic butter cow sculpture at the Iowa State Fair was doused in red paint by vandals sometime early Sunday. But the damage was quickly scraped away and washed away, and Iowa secretary of agriculture Bill Northey says visitors to the fair on Sunday never even knew the sculpture had been damaged.
“Everything was back to normal before the building even opened,” Northey says. “In fact, I don’t know that people would have realized it happened except that people tried to claim some credit for it.”
A group calling itself Iowans for Animal Liberation claimed responsibility for the vandalism in an email to the Des Moines Register. They said the paint represented the blood of “animals murdered each year in slaughterhouses, egg farms and dairies”.
The email stated group members hid in the Agriculture Building until it closed on Saturday night. One official called it “more of an inconvenience than anything else”.
“It’s not going to ruin anybody’s day here,” Northey says. “I think people, in some ways, actually show their loyalty to agriculture even more after an event like that.”