An animal rights group has claimed responsibility for dousing the famed Iowa State Fair butter cow with fake blood.
The sculpture was covered with red paint early Sunday, fair officials said, and the phrase "freedom for all" was scrawled on a viewing window in front of the cow.
A group called Iowans for Animal Liberation sent an image of the vandalism to the Des Moines Register, claiming responsibility.
"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 group wrote in an email to the Register. "The paint represents the blood of 11 billion animals murdered each year in slaughterhouses, egg farms, and dairies."
Police are investigating the incident.
"The butter cow is something people come to the fair to see," Iowa State Patrol Sgt. Scott Bright told the newspaper.
The annual fair, which began in 1854, attracts more than 1 million visitors a year. It's also a popular quadrennial stop for presidential candidates hoping to catch the attention of Iowa voters, who traditionally hold the first in the nation voting contests.
More than 100,000 people attended Sunday, fair officials said. The 10-day event runs through Aug. 18.