Retailers take Fairlife off the shelves after ‘chilling’ undercover video is published

animal welfare

Retailers take Fairlife off the shelves after ‘chilling’ undercover video is published

At least three retailers have made the decision to take Fairlife products off the shelves after an undercover video showing the ‘inhumane treatment of animals’ was made public this week.

Jewel-Osco, Family Express, and Strack & Van Til have all committed to stop stocking the brand’s milk after the expose was published at Fair Oaks Farm.

In a statement, Jewel-Osco said: “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.”

Family Express described the expose as ‘chilling’.

The statement added: “The minimizing of the graphic animal cruelty offers little assurance of change in a culture that is likely in need of fundamental retooling.”

Chicago-based Fairlife is owned by Fair Oaks Farms Founder Mike McCloskey.

The company lists Fair Oaks Farms as its flagship center.

The farm is currently under fire for the graphic video released by the Animal Recovery Mission, which shows animals being abused.

According to the ARM, the footage was collected after three months of analysis from an undercover investigator.

He was hired at the Prairies Edge North Barn as a calf care employee.

ARM said: “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.”

The video has had 100,000 views on Facebook and over one million views on Vimeo since its release on Tuesday.

Fair Oaks Farms said it was made aware of the video’s release on Tuesday morning, but claims it had known about the investigation for months.

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.”

Coca Cola distributes Fairlife’s products.

Whilst it has not cut ties with Fairlife, it has said it has been in touch with the company and has “full confidence in their management team to urgently address this issue with Fair Oaks Farms.”

The statement continued: “Fair Oaks Farms notified Fairlife that they immediately isolated the dairy supply from the dairy identified in the video to suspend all sourcing from that location…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.” 

The Newton County Sheriff’s office has requested the names of the employees in the video, who the farm says have since been fired.

In a statement, the office said that it plans to work with the prosecutor’s office to file charges for “any criminal activity” displayed within the independent investigation.

Mike Olson

Mike works as a freelance journalist for various publications all over the world. When he's not traveling to cool and sometimes dangerous places, he calls Chicago his home.

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