Fair Oaks Farms under investigation after undercover video exposes animal abuse

U.S. & World
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A dairy farm in Indiana has come under immense scrutiny after an undercover video released by an animal rights group revealed newborn calves being abused by farm employees. Footage shows Fair Oaks Farms workers dragging calves by their ears, throwing them into small plastic enclosures and hitting them with milk bottles.

The abuse extends to kicking and beating calves, as well as force-feeding them until they can’t breath. The video was filmed by a member of Animal Recovery Mission, who got a job at Fair Oaks Farms and went undercover as an employee from August to November of last year, CBS Chicago reports. The farm is located about 75 miles southeast of Chicago.

The Animal Recovery Mission recently released the video, which prompted local law enforcement to launch an investigation.

The calves appeared to stay in filthy, overcrowded and hot conditions. Temperature readings show it was more than 100 degrees inside their hutches. Dead calves were dumped in mass grave sites by employees, the video shows. 

Animal Recovery Mission also alleges supervisors and owners at the farm were aware of the conditions and took part in the abuse.

In response to the video, local grocery store chain Jewel-Osco said it was removing all Fairlife products that come from Fair Oaks Farms from its stores. 

“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. We apologize for any inconvenience,” spokeswoman Mary Frances Trucco told CBS Chicago in an email.

Mike McCloskey owns both Fairlife dairy products and Fair Oaks Farms. He released a video statement following the backlash from the Animal Recovery Mission revelations.

“I am disgusted by and take full responsibility for the actions seen in the footage, as it goes against everything that we stand for in regards to responsible cow care and comfort,” McCloskey said in a written statement on the company’s website.

“The employees featured in the video exercised a complete and total disregard for the documented training that all employees go through to ensure the comfort, safety and well-being of our animals.”

Fair Oaks Farms said five people in the video were identified and four of them are employees at the farm. The fifth person is a truck driver who works for a third party.

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