• Fair Oaks Farm animal abuse allegations: 5 things you need to know

    By: Natalie Dreier, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

    Updated:

    Fair Oaks Farms, a famous dairy farm in Indiana that produces fairlife dairy products, is coming under fire after undercover video allegedly shows workers kicking and throwing calves, The Associated Press and multiple media outlets are reporting. 

    Here are five things you need to know about the dairy and the controversial video.

    1. Police are investigating alleged animal abuse. The investigation came after the animal rights group, Animal Recovery Mission, secretly recorded video of what the group called “daily mistreatment of the resident farm animals,” the AP reported.

    The sheriff’s department has asked for the names of the employees shown in the video, as well as, the person who recorded it for Animal Recovery Mission, according to the Indy Star.

    “Due to the many years Fair Oaks Farms has been in business, it is impossible to number the amount of calves and cows that have inhumanely died at the hands of this company,” Rachel Taylor, a spokeswoman for Animal Recovery Mission, told The Chicago Sun Times.

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    2. The founder of Fair Oaks Farms said the employees seen on the video have been fired. Mike McCloskey said four people have lost their jobs and the farm and farm operators are making sure that there is no additional abuse, according to the AP.

    A fifth person seen in the video was a third-party truck driver who transported calves, McCloskey said. The driver has been banned from the property, the Indy Star reported.

    “I am disappointed for not being aware of this kind of awful treatment occurring, and I take full responsibility for what has happened. I also take full responsibility to correct and ensure that every employee understands, embraces and practices the core values on which our organization stands,” McCloskey said in a statement.

    3. Fair Oaks Farms is a partner with Coca-Cola. They formed the business partnership in 2015 to make and sell fairlife, a low-fat, low-sugar, high-protein milk that has 30% more calcium than normal milk. The businesses also make Core Power protein shakes, the Indy Star reported.

    4. Fair Oaks Farms has 600,000 visitors each year to the business’ complex which includes the farm, museum and restaurant. According to the Indy Star and Food & Wine magazine, it’s called the “Disneyland of agricultural tourism.” The farm uses manure as renewable bio-fuel to run its tractors and makes beer from ditch-ready water, Food & Wine magazine reported last year before the video was released.

    5. Some companies have dropped Fair Oaks Farms products. Strack & Van, Jewel-Osco and Family Express stores have all stopped stocking fairlife products, The Northwest Indiana Times reported.

    “At Jewel-Osco we strive to maintain high animal welfare standards across all areas of our business, and work in partnership with our vendors to ensure those standards are upheld,” officials said in a statement to WMAQ. “We apologize for any convenience.”

    Family Express officials told WMAQ, “The exposé of animal abuse in the Fair Oaks Farm network is chilling. A factor in our decision was the public response by Fair Oaks, asserting the notion that this was an isolated incident. This is hardly the response you would expect from an organization that gets it. The minimizing of the graphic animal cruelty offers little assurance of change in a culture that is likely in need of fundamental retooling.”


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