Fairlife Dairy Products Pulled from Shelves After Footage of Animal Cruelty at Dairy Farm Is Released

In a statement on Thursday, Fairlife Dairy said they were "devastated" by graphic footage of animal cruelty at one of their supplying farms

Fairlife Dairy
Photo: Michael Conroy/AP/Shutterstock

Fairlife Dairy has come under fire due to a viral video that showed graphic animal cruelty at one of their supplying dairy farms.

Graphic footage taken by Animal Recovery Mission, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending animal cruelty, went viral this week, showing animal cruelty and abuse at Fair Oaks Farms in Indiana, which produces dairy products for Fairlife. The company advertised their products as ethically-produced; on their site, a statement reads “As dairy farmers, we treat our cows with the utmost care, because we know that their health and happiness are the foundation of our business.”

In a statement accompanying the footage, ARM wrote, “Fair Oaks Farms employees were observed throwing calves in and out of their huts … Calves were pushed, thrown, slapped, kicked and slammed to the ground if and when the newborn calves did not nurse from the artificial rubber nipple during the feeding process.”

“The investigator also witnessed calves being stabbed and beaten with steel rebars, hit in the mouth and face with hard plastic milking bottles, beaten with steel branding irons, faces and bodies burned with hot branding irons, kneed in the middle of newborn calves’ backs with the full weight of a man’s body,” the statement continued.

“All of the following resulted in pain, suffering, permanent injury and death of the calves,” the statement alleged.

In the aftermath of the footage, many retailers pulled Fairlife projects from their shelves, including Jewel-Osco, Tony’s Fresh Market and Family Express, according to Today.

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In a statement on Thursday, the company, which was founded by veterinarian Mike McCloskey, said that it was “devastated” by the video.

“Since Fairlife was founded in 2012, we have strived to uphold our farming values centered around sustainability, transparency and animal care,” the statement read. “In recent days, it has become clear that while we have practices in place that are meant to prevent this kind of behavior among our supplying farms, these practices have clearly failed you and us.”

In the statement, Fairlife said it had taken steps to “address the situation at Fair Oaks Farms,” one of 30 farms that contributes to Fairlife’s total milk supply.

The company suspended all milk deliveries from the farm “immediately” after hearing the news, and is now increasing their training programs for all their supplying farms.

In addition, the company said they “significantly increased” the number of animal welfare audits they conduct in a year to 24 — all unannounced.

“We are demanding our supplying farms institute a zero-tolerance policy for animal abuse. Individuals who violate this policy must be terminated and referred to law enforcement for further investigation,” the statement read.

Fairlife said that Fair Oaks Farms has fired the individuals involved in the video “who did not adhere to the farm’s practices.”

“They are cooperating with law enforcement officers, and we will continue to hold anyone associated with this issue responsible for their actions,” the statement read.

The company also shared a video of founder McCloskey addressing the situation.

“Watching this video broke my heart and created a sadness that I’ll have to endure for the rest of my life,” he said. “I am sorry and I apologize for the footage in this video.”

McCloskey concluded by saying: “I am committed to never again having to watch a video of our animals suffering the way that they suffered. It is a commitment that I guarantee this will not happen again at Fair Oaks Farms.”

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