In this file:
· Charges filed in Fair Oaks Farms animal cruelty case
· 3 former employees charged in Fair Oaks Farms animal abuse case, authorities say
Charges filed in Fair Oaks Farms animal cruelty case
By: Kara Kenney, RTV6 Indianapolis
Jun 10, 2019
FAIR OAKS — The Newton County Sheriff’s office announced Monday that criminal charges have been filed against three people in connection with the undercover video at Fair Oaks Farms that showed animal cruelty and abuse.
The sheriff’s office said three people were charged with beating of a vertebrate animal, a Class A misdemeanor, and the agency plans to release the names within 24 hours.
They are still conducting interviews with other persons of interest, according to the sheriff’s office.
Indiana State Police, the Indiana State Board of Animal Health and the Newtown County Prosecutor’s Office were all involved in the investigation.
The Animal Recovery Mission conducted its investigation at Fair Oaks Farms in northwest Indiana between August and November 2018, but the group did not release its undercover footage until June 4.
The Florida based group that calls itself a “vanguard animal welfare organization” released a new statement Friday addressing criticism that it did not report animal abuse or put a stop to it sooner.
“As the reason for why we waited so long for this release was because the Animal Recovery Mission had the obligation to investigate where the male calves were going to,” read the statement. “After our extensive investigation our teams uncovered Fair Oaks Farms delivering calves to Midwest veal mere weeks ago, in a clear contradiction to McCloskey’s statement on his calves being sold to the veal industry.”
Fair Oaks Farms Founder, Mike McCloskey, had previously said the farm was not sending calves to the veal industry, but in a Facebook comment this week he blamed miscommunication.
“In regards to my comment on not sending our calves to veal — it was not our practice in the past, but due to a lack of communication between the general manager in charge of livestock sales and myself, I was unaware that we were selling our calves to the veal industry and apologize for the unintended false claim made previously,” McCloskey’s statement read. “Our bull calves will no longer go to veal.”
RTV6 broke the story on June 4 regarding the Animal Recovery Mission (ARM)’s undercover investigation at Fair Oaks Farm in northwest Indiana that showed employees abusing calves.
Undercover video captured employees throwing calves in and out of their huts, calves kicked and slammed to the ground, a worker sitting on top of a calf.
McCloskey said four employees were terminated as a result of the undercover footage.
The Animal Recovery Mission has also faced accusations that employees seen abusing animals actually worked for ARM. The group denied participating in the abuse.
“We were not fired and felt as though we had enough data for our case at that location, so we pulled our investigator out,” read the ARM statement released Friday. “The ARM investigator at no time took part in any of the abuse nor did we stage any of the employees to conduct abusive crimes of the animals.”
ARM also said it reported all instances of abuse to top management, who not only saw the abuse themselves but took no disciplinary action against the employees who did.
The group released an hour and a half of footage Friday to address allegations that the 4-minute video previously was unfairly edited...
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3 former employees charged in Fair Oaks Farms animal abuse case, authorities say
Crystal Hill and Dave Bangert, Indianapolis Star (IN)
June 10, 2019
Three former employees at Fair Oaks Farms face criminal charges in connection with an investigation into animal cruelty at the northern Indiana dairy operation, authorities announced Monday.
The Newton County Sheriff's Office said that three people have been charged with beating a vertebrate animal, a misdemeanor. They have not identified the suspects, but said the names could be released within 24 hours.
Capt. Shannon Cothran told IndyStar the names are being withheld to protect the investigation, saying he couldn't elaborate further. Police also declined to comment on whether more individuals could face charges.
Newton County Prosecutor Jeff Drinski said arrest warrants were issued Monday afternoon for three former Fair Oaks employees tied to abuse shown on undercover video captured at the dairy operation, the Journal & Courier reported.
Drinski said he signed off on felony and misdemeanor charges for the three people. He said that Fair Oaks Farms “has cooperated completely in our attempts to identify and interview all persons involved in the videos that we have all viewed over the past week.”
Other "persons of interest" are being interviewed in the case, investigators said.
IndyStar has reached out to a Fair Oaks spokesperson for comment.
Videos show animal abuse, drug use
The charges come after after a graphic video released by an activist group last week showed workers abusing calves and using drugs at the farm, which is Indiana's largest dairy operation,
Animal Recovery Mission then released a second undercover video that shows additional abuse against animals, more alleged drug use against Fair Oaks Farms employees and poor living conditions for the animals.
Richard Couto, 48, the group's leader and founder, told IndyStar he was pleased with the charges, but questioned whether it would lead to lasting change.
"The arrests are great," Couto said. "Do I think this is going to change the abuse? No, I don’t. From our experience, there were many more people that were committing felony acts against the calves, and we have that on video," he said.
Drinski told the Journal &Courier that the three people facing charges don't include the Animal Recovery Mission investigator who shot the video. The activist worked at Fair Oaks at the Prairies Edge North Barn from August through November 2018.
“But he has been identified and will be interviewed,” Drinski said.
Founder: 'It goes against everything we stand for' ...
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