Not long ago, a photo of a 15-year-old boy sleeping on his heifer at the Iowa State Fair grabbed the hearts of not only the local Iowans but people across the globe.
For nearly two months, Mitchell spent almost every single day with the cow, which was ‘adopted’ from a dairy farm near Blairstown.
“She just enjoys my company. She likes to lay down quite a bit, I don’t really understand the bond with my animal either,” Miner joked
On social media, the photo touched many people, and they had an array of positive reactions.
But, as it goes with social media, the photo also drew criticism from fans who questioned the fate of the heifer and the life she would lead once she was taken back to the dairy farm.
In a Facebook comment, Mitchell Miner’s father, Jeremy Miner, spoke about the love and care it takes to be a farmer and raise happy animals.
“Livestock is raised with more blood, sweat, tears than you will ever understand unless you choose to make your living from it. Livestock are raised with their well-being, being of the utmost importance. Their health, comfort & well-being take precedence over our own. … That bond is different because we know that in the end, these animals are here for a purpose, food. Whether it’s milk or meat, we know that someday, they will fill hungry bellies. It’s never been about farmers not caring about animals. Farmers know that this is the reality of raising livestock. To say my son or my family don’t know what’s going to happen to this heifer couldn’t be farther from the truth. The problem today is that fewer & fewer people don’t know where kthere food comes from, nor are they willing to accept the way that food gets to their table because nobody is willing to teach them this reality,” Jeremy Miner wrote.
The viral photo, posted by Jeremy, got over 18,000 likes, shares, and comments. Audri ended up winning fifth out of seven contestants.
At the end of the day, the photo highlights the essence of what Iowa State Fair is all about — hard work, kindness, a diverse crowd, and their adorable animals.