After an animal welfare group released undercover videos of calves being abused at Fair Oaks Farms in Indiana, some grocery retailers are pulling Fairlife milk from their shelves, including at least one chain in the Baton Rouge area—Rouses.
The Thibodaux-based supermarket chain, which has more than 60 locations in the Capital Region and along the Gulf Coast, announced its decision to drop Fairlife on Thursday. Fair Oaks Farms is the flagship farm for the Fairlife brand.
“Due to the unsettling information surrounding animal abuse in the Fair Oaks Farms network, the Rouse family is suspending the purchase of Fairlife milk at this time,” reads a company statement.
Rouses joins at least three other companies nationally that have pulled the brand from shelves. Midwest retailers Strack & Van Til, Jewel-Osco and Family Express announced Wednesday their decisions to drop Fairlife milk following the animal abuse videos, according to the Associated Press.
Other local supermarkets and Baton Rouge-based Associated Grocers—a wholesale supplier—did not return requests for comment or could not be reached by deadline to say whether other stores in the area had dropped Fairlife.
Miami-based Animal Recovery Mission, a nonprofit, recently released videos of its undercover investigation into animal treatment at Fair Oaks Farms, which prompted local law enforcement in Indiana to also launch an investigation into the dairy farm. The videos show employees dragging, kicking and throwing calves at Fair Oaks, which has been touted in the past as the “Disneyland of Agricultural Tourism.”
Critics of ARM, however, have called the group’s tactics unfair, according to IndyStar.
Fair Oaks Farms founder Mike McCloskey, in a statement, admitted the abuse took place and took “full responsibility,” but he also raised concerns over how long it took ARM to notify authorities of the animal abuse.
“The fact that ARM takes months before notifying owners or authorities regarding ongoing animal abuse is concerning,” McCloskey said in a Facebook statement. “I have personally reached out to ARM’s founder, Richard Couto, to discuss a more symbiotic relationship but he has yet to reach back.”
McCloskey has also said the four employees seen in the video have been fired and steps have been taken to prevent further animal abuse.