• Fair Oaks Farm investigation: Employees may have been coerced for video, prosecutors say

    By: Natalie Dreier, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

    Updated:

    NEWTON COUNTY, Ind. - The video that has angered animal lovers may not fully be what it seems.

    Detectives in Newtown County, Indiana, are investigating whether animal rights activists with Animal Recovery Mission, also called a nonprofit group, coerced or encourage employees of Fair Oaks Farms to allegedly abuse the animals for the video, WXIN reported.

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    The investigation began after a third-party witness contacted the Newton County Prosecutor’s Office to corroborate the allegations made by one of the suspects, charged with beating a vertebrate animal, WXIN reported.

    One of the three is in custody, WTHR reported.

    The prosecutors did not identify the alleged witness or the person who made the allegations early in the case because of the investigation, The Lafayette Journal & Courier reported.

    The graphic video shows employees abusing animals and using drugs at the dairy farm. Farm officials have said, “We continue to focus and make every effort to ensure the safety and welfare of our animals so this never happens again.”

    ARM denies the allegations and released a statement to WXIN:

    “The statement sent out by the Newton County’s Prosecutor's Office that an ARM Investigator coerced or encouraged the abuse of innocent animals at Fair Oaks Farms, couldn’t be further from the truth.”

    ARM officials said neither the county sheriff nor the prosecution’s office has contacted ARM’s main witness.

    The statement continues:

    “For prosecutors to release such an unfounded and bogus information that is part of an open and ongoing criminal case, is not only unprofessional, but irresponsible, as it could have a negative effect on this very important criminal case. It is apparent that this prosecutor is attempting to divert public attention away from Fair Oaks Farms and Mike McCloskey in order to  create doubt on a professionally put together investigation into Newton County.”

    ARM officials said that they have not yet given either the sheriff or prosecutors the group’s official statement concerning the video, WXIN reported.

    The group said that Fair Oaks managers knew what was happening on the farm but did not do anything to stop it, WTHR reported.

    FILE PHOTO: The dairy that produces fairlife milk, Fair Oaks Farms, is under fire by animal rights activists after a video allegedly showed employees abusing cows.
    FILE PHOTO: The dairy that produces fairlife milk, Fair Oaks Farms, is under fire by animal rights activists after a video allegedly showed employees abusing cows.
    Marcus Ingram/Getty Images

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