Editors note: The Fair Oaks Farms family has issued a warning to their followers on Facebook yesterday, anticipating video’s to be released that were obtained by animal activist infiltrators. The DairyBusiness staff found the Fair Oaks preemptive statement forward thinking, appropriate, and responsible. Below is a copy of their statement for our readers.
This issues is a major concern to dairy producers and we have covered it in the recent past. We encourage our readers to review these articles:
At Fair Oaks Farms, we pride ourselves on consumer transparency – not only when it comes to the dairy products we produce, but also regarding the cows, people and farming that are behind those products. It is with that philosophy in mind that we would like to inform our trusted consumers, visitors, and the public at large, that an animal activist organization infiltrated our farms. We believe they came to our farms not to share a fair and balanced view of animal welfare, but to specifically and misleadingly create animal cruelty videos. Although we strive for perfection, we are always on the lookout for flaws within our systems and we look forward to proactively reviewing these videos. With that said, we would like to reassure you of our core principles and commitments to animal welfare.
First, Fair Oaks Farms upholds the highest possible standards in animal care. We work hard to follow ALL of the protocols of the National Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) program. We rigorously train and supervise all on-farm employees and managers. In fact, before employment commences, all incoming employees are trained on humane animal care practices on our dairies and contractually agree to a “See It, Say It” policy concerning animal abuse. We are aligned with animal rights activism groups everywhere when it comes to protecting animals from cruelty. Our organization was founded on the animal care principles and philosophies of our dairy veterinarian founder, Dr. Mike McCloskey.
Although we have complete confidence in our employees and animal welfare programs, no one person or organization is without flaws. It’s only through the belief and practice of continuous improvement that we can guarantee to you – our guest and consumer – that when any faults are found we take immediate actions to correct and learn from them. Fair Oaks Farms is recognized as a leader of innovative advances in the agriculture industry. It’s who we are; it’s in our DNA. We will always continue to strive to be better: better stewards of our land and animals, better neighbors, and better trusted sources of great nutrition.
When we opened our farms, we did so as an invitation to you and your family to have an open dialogue with farmers about where your food comes from. In having these conversations and receiving feedback, we’ve adopted better practices along the way. It is unfortunate that these types of activist organizations feel they are not welcome to join the conversation when in fact, the opposite is true. Our mission is to welcome ALL to the table to have conversations about how we are going to affordably feed the world through sustainable, humane, modern agriculture.
When we found out about this undercover operation, we immediately and voluntarily called for a third-party review of our animal welfare practices to assure ourselves – and you – that our dairies are compliant with the FARM program. Once this review is finished, we will gladly share their findings.
Transparency is fundamental to how we operate. As a family dairy farm organization, we have a 25-year legacy of responsible production and industry leadership. We deeply respect and appreciate our animals. Their care and safety are of the utmost importance to us and we will do everything in our power to never compromise that. At the same time, we hold dear the trust that you have placed in us and we will continue to advocate for transparency and continuous improvement on our farms and in our industry.
The Family Farmers of Fair Oaks Farms