Among the many annual traditions in the Lone Star State, few are as well known or as deeply etched with tradition and Texas excess as the State Fair of Texas. From outrageously fried confections to Big Tex and, of course, plenty of football. The event held at Dallas’ historic Fair Park is larger than life. This year State Fair-goers have a new attraction to visit, one that recalls the roots of an old-fashion county fair: The Livestock Birthing Barn was conceived (pun intended) after a heifer gave birth to a calf during the fair last year. Now, all fairgoers can learn about the miracle of life through the incubation and birthing process of various livestock animals. The goal of the Livestock Birthing Barn is to highlight the agricultural importance of breeding livestock and its role in our everyday lives.
Daryl Real, senior vice president of agriculture and livestock for the fair, explains that the birthing barn is a place to teach the public about animal reproduction.
“The birthing barn is a great opportunity to let people know how those animals come into being, and as well, kind of understand the process so they can appreciate it,” Real says. “And also understand how important these animals are to the farmers and ranchers that care for them everyday.”
The barn has lots of different live animals on display and there are special areas set apart for mothers that are about to give birth. When a birth is happening there is a staff member who narrates the process for guests. When there is not a birth, there is signage that leads people through the exhibit.
“We have tried to schedule lots of births to happen during this time,” Real says. “[It] requires lots of animals to make sure that we have births all the time.”
On Tuesday the first animal was born during opening hours. All others have occurred overnight. Either way, Real says the animal’s welfare comes first.
“That’s actually the goal of the exhibit is to share with people how important animal welfare is to people that are raising livestock and farmers and ranchers.”
Written by Morgan Kuehler.