Fair Oaks Farms, who has been recognized as the top agritourism destination in the Midwest, announced over the Easter weekend that an animal activist organization went “undercover” as employees and infiltrated their farms to create misleading animal cruelty videos.
Fair Oaks Farms co-founder and veterinarian Dr. Mike McCloskey said in a video statement, “It’s very unfortunate because what happens in videos like this is that the thousands and thousands of compassionate moments that our employees have interacting and caring for our animals never get to these videos. What they get is the one off moment, or they’re showing a practice and misrepresenting it and explaining it wrong, or a malfunction of some sort that is occurring, that is a one off malfunction, that does cause some stress with the animals until that’s corrected, and they use these pieces to really, truly misrepresent who we are.”
In a statement on their website, after the undercover operation was discovered, Fair Oaks immediately and voluntarily called for a third-party audit of their operations. They emphasize their dedication to transparency and encouragement of open dialogue.
“We really wish that groups like this understood that they are welcome also to come and share with us their thoughts of our practices and our management and allow us to have a dialogue with them where we could interchange our thoughts with theirs. I’m sure they’ll teach us stuff and help us become better at what we do because it is that transparency that has helped us to continue to be open with our practice and listen to everyone. It’s all, at the end of the day, about producing great products while taking great care of our animals, our land, our people in our community, and that is who Fair Oaks Farms is.”
They added that if and when any videos that depict alleged animal cruelty are released, they’ll take immediate and corrective action towards any employee who may be found abusing animals. That action could include employee retraining, probation or termination and, if appropriate, legal action. They added that they will also take any action, including legal, towards those who knowingly facilitate any misrepresentation of appropriate practices or procedures. We will continue to follow this story and provide updates if warranted.
For more from Fair Oaks Farms on the matter, you can visit their website and view their page entitled, “An Open Dialogue- Complete Transparency“.