Long live Butter Cow!

Rick Robinson Author, Writ of Mandamus
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“Happiness is the Iowa State Fair.”

That’s the theme of this year’s Iowa State Fair, currently taking place in Des Moines.

And who can blame the good people of Iowa for such a boastful slogan. Easily the most well-known state fair in the nation, the annual get-together will attract over a million people from around the world to wander through the exhibits, eat food on a stick, ride the Wacky Worm and listen to music ranging from Toby Keith to Train.

Since 1911, one of the most popular exhibits along the midway has been Butter Cow – a life sized cow carved from butter.

Iowans take Butter Cow very seriously. They will stand in a long line to view the 600 pounds of low moisture, pure cream Iowa butter shaped into a cow.

According to the Iowa State Fair Media Guide butter sculpting has a rich history. “Nearly 20 years before Columbus discovered America, Tibetan monks used yak butter to create figurines of animals and deities to worship.”

This week, in what can only be described as the stupidest act of civil disobedience in the history of the world, Butter Cow was vandalized.

A group of vegans calling themselves Iowans for Animal Liberation hid at the fairgrounds and, after everyone had left the midway, tossed red paint on Butter Cow. On the display window in front of Butter Cow they scrawled “Freedom for All.”

Hey Johnny, what are you rebelling against?

Like many people my age, my political views were shaped by growing up in the golden age of protest.

When I was a kid, I watched news clips of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. marching on Selma, Alabama in an effort to end racial discrimination. My old sister went to a college where women were burning their bras, men were burning their draft cards and seemingly everyone was burning the ROTC building.

On my AM only transistor radio, Barry McGuire sang about the Eve of Destruction and Bob Dylan told me the times they were a-changin’.

When I saw that Butter Cow had been vandalized in the name of protest, I was curious as to the reason. I assumed that ruining the day of a million otherwise happy fair goers had to be done for a pretty important reason.

In a press statement claiming responsibility for the desecration of Butter Cow, the IAL said: “The paint represents the blood of 11 billion animals murdered each year in slaughterhouses, egg farms, and dairies. 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.”


Whadda ya got?

Like Marlon Brando in “The Wild One,” it sure seems like the IAL was just looking for something to rebel against, since cows have been domesticated animals for thousands of years.

If I were compiling an inventory of “Whaddaya got” for people to protest these days, the tyrannies of dairy farming would not be high on the list.

I hereby challenge the idiots at the IAL to a debate.

Each year the Des Moines Register offers a free speech area at the Iowa State Fair where people stand on hay bales in front of Iowa voters and offer their views on the issues of the day. The time slots are usually reserved for candidates. Since this isn’t a presidential election year, I’m sure we can get fifteen minutes on the schedule for our debate.

After we get through talking about the latest jobs report, Benghazi, North Korea, nuclear proliferation, Russia, Fast and Furious, Cuban human rights abuses, Edward Snowden, The Internal Revenue Service, the NSA, domestic spying, drones, Afghanistan, Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood, federal bailouts, and at least a dozen other issues that actually matter, we can talk about how it’s a sin to wear leather sandals to an Occupy protest.

If we run a little past our allotted time slot, we can continue our discussion at Iowa Pork Producers’ booth. Their pork chop on a stick is to die for.

Rick Robinson