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Hidden Animal Abuse in Dairy Farms

Anousha Narayanan

Two years ago, a video shot by undercover activists showing the mistreatment of cows and calves at Fair Oaks dairy farms went viral.

The release of this video in 2019 created a major controversy for popular milk brand, Fairlife, who sourced their milk from Fair Oaks farms. According to the brand itself, “Ensuring that the animals who provide Fairlife dairy products are cared for and cared about is a top priority”.

Customers were shocked to hear that the ‘cruelty free’ dairy products they had been buying might not have been sourced as humanely as they thought at all. Grocers in the United States responded by pulling Fairlife products from their shelves, and several petitions to boycott the brand began. Additionally, lawsuits were filed against the company for consumer fraud.

Fairlife responded by stating that they were unaware of the mistreatment of these animals, and immediately cut ties with Fair Oaks farms. However, the case against the company is still ongoing.

To prevent this issue from occurring again, Fairlife has begun working with Food Safety Net Services, an independent third party. The FSNS conducts routine unannounced audits on each of Fairlife’s dairy farms, and if an issue is found, action is taken against the farm immediately. Luckily, no further incidents of animal abuse have been observed so far.

Recently, the same video has resurfaced, once again sparking outrage. Lisa Lecas, a spokeswoman for Fairlife has responded to the current controversy by stating: “We immediately stopped accepting milk from them after learning about the incident and don’t accept milk from them today.”

Although this story ends on a positive note, Fair Oaks is not the only dairy farm which has been caught mistreating its cows. Animal cruelty is a huge issue prevalent in the dairy industry. Farms have been exposed separating calves from their mothers, keeping cows in unhygienic and cramped conditions, not giving animals enough food and water, subjecting them to physical violence, and even brutally killing them.

However, progress is being made in this area. More investigations into dairy farms are being conducted day by day, and the government, too, has begun to take action by implementing new laws against animal cruelty. The future is looking hopeful for our cattle.

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