Des Moines, Iowa (Des Moines Register) -- The Iowa State Fair's beloved butter cow sculpture looks as good as new
after vandals covered the iconic bovine in red paint early Sunday.
cow, a fair tradition since 1911, cleaned up well after the dousing.
Vandals from the group Iowans for Animal Liberation attempted to churn
controversy over factory farms by scrawling "Freedom For All" on a glass
window in the display.
"It's sad, because the butter cow is iconic
of the Iowa State Fair," said Lori Chappell, Iowa State Fair marketing
director, who added: "No one was hurt; no one was injured. The butter
cow is fine."
Security has increased at the building since the incident, and better locks have been installed, Chappell said.
arrests have been made. Police are reviewing camera footage of the
building's exterior as part of the investigation, Iowa State Patrol Sgt.
Scott Bright said.
Sculptor Sarah Pratt received a call around 4
a.m. Sunday, shortly after the vandalism was discovered. Pratt was
putting the finishing touches on the cow by the time the Agriculture
Building opened at 9 a.m., Chappell said.
"We didn't miss a beat," she said.
can't recall the butter cow ever being defaced, though someone made a
failed attempt to place a note on the cow a few years ago. The note
slipped off the the slick surface.
"That didn't work so well," Chappell said.
group that calls itself Iowans for Animal Liberation claimed
responsibility for the vandalism in an email to the Des Moines Register.
The email stated group members hid in the Agriculture Building until it
"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 email said. "The paint represents the blood
of 11 billion animals murdered each year in slaughterhouses, egg farms,
It is unclear if Iowans for Animal Liberation is
the same group or related to The Animal Liberation Front, which has
taken credit for previous acts of vandalism related to animal rights.
Animal Liberation Front has been active in Iowa before. The group,
which has ties to larger organizations in Canada and the United Kingdom,
claimed responsibility for vandalism at a University of Iowa psychology
laboratory in November 2004.
The group removed more than 400
animals, mostly laboratory rats and mice, from Spence Laboratories. They
poured acid on research documents and destroyed computers. The group
later released an email which contained the names of researchers, their
home addresses, telephone numbers and names of their spouses.
September 2000, the Canadian wing of the Animal Liberation Front
released 14,000 mink from a fur farm in Chickasaw County. Though the
group claimed credit for the release, authorities were not able to find
individuals responsible for the release.
In October 2001, the
group claimed responsibility for release of mink in Ellsworth, Sioux
City and New Hampton. The Ellsworth farm of Metta Nelson was hit twice
in that month and said at the loss of animals would like run the farm
out of business.