FAIR OAKS — Fair Oaks Farms is taking steps to prevent animal abuse at its facility.
Fair Oaks Farms recently provided updates via a new video posted to the facility’s Facebook page, as well as a full timeline of its efforts. It is available at fofarms.com/progress.
The measures FOF is taking — new security cameras, hiring animal welfare experts and more — are part of an ongoing response to Animal Recovery Mission’s recent undercover infiltration of its its dairy farms. That investigation, and several videos released afterward, allegedly depicted now-former employees abusing animals in the facility.
On June 6, the facility began installing camera surveillance throughout the farm. The next day, it established a new pledge of accountability to “sharpen focus on our immediate and ongoing actions to help us stay true to our core values of animal comfort and well-being.”
On June 10, FOF reportedly began interviewing candidates to join the staff on a full-time basis to oversee its animal care operations. This animal welfare expert’s responsibilities will include evaluating and revamping the current training program, leading the new-hire orientation training program, providing ongoing training enhancements through on-the-ground interactions with farm workers, and overseeing monitoring of animal treatment.
On June 14, FOF contracted with the independent auditor Food Safety Net Services for “random, frequent and unannounced” audits of the facility’s farms every two to four weeks.
The facility also hired animal welfare experts Walter Guterbock and Enid Mendoza for animal welfare operations.
“Walter is a specialized dairy veterinarian and dairy manager with 30 years experience in the industry, and received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Illinois,” FOF stated online. “Enid is a graduate of Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine and will be finished with her externships for her DVM at Michigan State University at the end of August.”
On July 11, the facility announced it had completed the installation of 60 percent of its planned cameras in “key areas of the farm where there are human-animal interactions.”
In a video posted online Tuesday, Fair Oaks Farms founder Dr. Mike McClosky said the camera installation is now 100 percent complete.
“We are planning a animal welfare exhibit at our visiting center to open this spring,” McClosky said in the new video.
Trained individuals are reportedly monitoring the camera footage, which covers every milking barn and the calf area. The facility’s animal welfare experts are also training additional employees on monitoring.