NEWTON COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — A disturbing undercover animal abuse video has people boycotting Fair Oaks Farms in Newton County.
"I'm out here protesting what I just seen yesterday," said Tanya Webb. "I seen it on Facebook the first time. I watched the video and it just made me sick."
"It was appalling, it was deeply appalling," added Chuck M who also went to Fair Oaks Farms to protest Wednesday.
Fair Oaks Farms Founder Mike McCloskey said the video disgusted him. In a long statement on Facebook, he claims he wasn't aware of the abuse. He apologized and assured people the employees were fired and he would stop this from happening again.
Chuck said he would like to see more transparency in the future.
"Cameras everywhere on this farm. Everywhere. And the people that walk into that lobby can look at 50 cameras and see every point of that farm and what is going on," said Chuck. "That's the only way I think they should be allowed to operate."
"I think they should get involved and go deep with it," said Chuck.
There are several large companies affiliated with Fair Oaks Farms including Coca Cola and Marriott Hotels. Some people are asking those companies to part ways with Fair Oaks.
Coca Cola released the following statement to News 18:
At The Coca-Cola Company, we take animal welfare very seriously. We expect our suppliers to operate with the highest degree of integrity and comply with all laws, including animal welfare laws.
We have been in contact with fairlife about this situation and have full confidence in their management team to urgently address this issue with Fair Oaks Farms, which is a third-party supplier to fairlife. They recognize the seriousness of this situation as their founding principles are grounded in a strong commitment to sustainability, transparency and the highest standards of animal welfare. Fair Oaks Farms notified fairlife that they immediately isolated dairy supply from the dairy identified in the video to suspend all sourcing from that location. More information on the proactive actions fairlife has taken is outlined on the fairlife website.
We fully support and respect the proactive approach that fairlife and Fair Oaks Farms have taken and we continue to stay in contact with them to lend any support they need.
"I would like for them to back out of this," said Webb. "To remove themselves and not have this go against their reputation."
"Do not patronize the place and let's get the cameras everywhere," said Chuck. "You want to show total transparency? Do it."
Fairlife posted a statement on its website as well:
"As part of our core values of responsible farming and animal care, we at fairlife LLC are taking this incident very seriously. We and Fair Oaks Farms are taking the following steps:
-Immediately suspend milk deliveries from the dairy identified in the video to fairlife;
-Fair Oaks Farm has terminated the four individuals identified in the video that did not adhere to the farm’s stringent animal welfare practices;
-As outlined in a letter from Dr. Mike McCloskey at Fair Oaks Farms, they have provided the video to local Indiana law enforcement to review for potential criminal charges against the individuals involved;
-Fair Oaks Farms commissioned an independent auditor, Food Safety Net Services Certification & Audit (FSNS C&A), recommended by the National Milk Producers’ Federation, to conduct an audit of animal welfare practices at the identified farm. Those results are public and will be made available at www.fofarms.com;
-Fair Oaks Farms has committed to conduct independent, unannounced and random audits and install video surveillance to ensure the highest levels of animal care are maintained;
-Until these new assurances are in place, no milk from the dairy in the video will be included in fairlife LLC products.
At least three companies say they're pulling Fairlife products from their shelves. Fair Oaks is the flagship farm for Fairlife, a national brand of higher protein, higher calcium and lower fat milk. Wednesday, Family Express, Jewel-Osco and Strack and Van Til announced they'll no longer sell Fairlife producs.
Valparaiso-based Family Express operates convenience stores across Indiana. The company said, "The exposé of animal abuse in the Fair Oaks Farm network is chilling."
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