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Video shows alleged animal cruelty at Fair Oaks Farms

Animal abuse investigation

Travis Robinson | News 8 at 6 p.m.

FAIR OAKS, Ind. (WISH/WLFI) — An undercover video shot by an animal cruelty group shows alleged cruelty toward calves at Fair Oaks Farms.

The video was created by Animal Recovery Mission Investigations and was published around 4 p.m. Tuesday.

Fair Oaks Farms said some of their employees were caught on camera abusing their animals. The Newton County Sheriff’s Office is investigating.

(Viewer discretion is advised for the video.)

Over the span of three months, Animal Recovery Mission said in its video that they recorded abuse after abuse. Calves and cows appeared to be hit, choked and burned.

“It is a shock and an eye-opener for us to discover that under our watch,” Fair Oaks Founder Mike McCloskey said. “We had employees who showed disregard for our animals, our processes and for the rule of law.”

A description under the video said, “The following abuses were witnessed on virtually a daily basis: Employees were observed slapping, kicking, punching, pushing, throwing and slamming calves; calves were stabbed and beaten with steel rebars, hit in the mouth and face with hard plastic milking bottles, kneed in the spine, burned in the face with hot branding irons, subjected to extreme temperatures, provided with improper nutrition, and denied medical attention. This resulted in extreme pain and suffering by the calves, and in some cases permanent injury and even death.”

Fair Oaks Farms said the men in the video appear to be four employees and a third-party truck driver. The farm asid none of those people work at the farm anymore. One of those employees was fired Tuesday.

A 10-paragraph statement by the company goes through how it is sorry, calls what happened disgusting, and says it won’t happen again, but this isn’t the first time they’ve put out an apology.

“It is with a heavy heart that I prepare this statement today,” McCloskey said. “As a veterinarian whose life and work is dedicated to the care, comfort and safety of all animals, this has affected me deeply. 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.”

Fair Oaks said in its statement that back in April they found out Animal Recovery Mission had gone undercover at their farm. Fair Oaks said it issued a video apology echoing a lot of the same things it said in its statement. After that, Fair Oaks said, it hired a third party to come in and investigate.

Even after Animal Recovery Mission spent three months on the farm, the Indiana State Board of Animal Health said, the group never came to them with any evidence of abuse.

Law-enforcement officers said Animal Recovery Mission never came to them either and they are trying to find the person who witnessed the alleged abuse.

To make sure this doesn’t happen again, the farm said in its statement, even though its “see something say something” policy worked enough to catch three of the four employees they believe are in the video, they’ll try to monitor things better and put in more training on proper protocol.

Several stores already say they’re pulling Fairlife products off the shelves thanks to this video.

The Indiana State Board of Animal Health says it hasn’t heard of any reports from the farm since it went into business over 20 years ago.