Metcalfe's resumes business with Fair Oaks Farms after founder apologizes for animal abuse
Metcalfe’s Market will be resuming business ties with Fair Oaks Farms Friday, after deciding the dairy farm took appropriate action following the release of disturbing video showing animal abuse.
Metcalfe’s reversal comes after the founder Fair Oaks Farms, Dr. Mike McCloskey,
apologizing for the disturbing video and laying out steps the farm will do to make sure animal abuse never happens again.
The Animal Recovery Mission (ARM) released the disturbing footage Tuesday stemming from its undercover investigation at Fair Oaks Farms located in Fair Oaks, Ind.
According to a statement from Metcalfe’s Friday:
As NBC15 reported on June 5, Tim Metcalfe, president of Metcalfe’s Market in Madison, posted to Facebook to say that his company would cease all business ties with Fair Oak Farms. The company has since reversed that decision.
Owned and operated by Mike and Sue McCloskey, Fair Oaks Farms produces dairy products for the Fairlife milk brand.
In the video, the Fair Oaks founder McCloskey said that “watching that video broke my heart and created a sadness I will have to endure the rest of my life. I am sorry and I apologize for the footage in this video.”
He emphasized that every employee goes through animal welfare training before they start their job, then participate in continuous training throughout their first year. All employees also sign a document that if they see abuse they will report it.
Dr. McCloskey said all four employees seen in the ARM investigation video had undergone training and signed the document.
He pointed out that three of those employees had been reported by other employees and terminated three months ago "before we even knew there was any undercover video." He said they were not aware of the fourth employee's involvement until the video was released, and that person was terminated as soon as they saw it.
"I am focusing on putting cameras on the property where we have any animal and personnel interaction," Dr. McCloskey said about the immediate steps they're taking.
He said they trusted their employees to uphold their values and that's why cameras weren't in place before.
"As hard as we try, you can always end up with bad people within your organization and this is what happened to us," Dr. McCloskey said.
There will be an exhibit in the Dairy Adventure Center at the farm that will include screens showing cameras where animal and personnel interaction is happening. That area will be open to the public and the cameras will also be viewed by a highly trained worker.
Fair Oaks is also contracting with a well-established animal welfare organization to conduct unannounced audits at the farm with total access, according to Dr. McCloskey.
He expected those audits to happen every two to four weeks. An animal welfare expert will also be hired to work on the farm in a role where they will oversee employee and animal interaction to ensure a high standard of animal welfare.
Dr. McCloskey said they are working with the county attorney to review the video and prosecute any animal abuser. He said if there is any animal abuse going forward, those employees will be prosecuted as well.