Fair Oaks Farms – Animal Rights Groups Use Inhumane Tactics


We, at Protect the Harvest, like most Americans, believe that any form of animal abuse or cruelty is reprehensible. We advocate for animal welfare and know that most livestock owners work diligently every day to provide proper welfare to their livestock.

The recently released videos set at Fair Oaks Farms serve as an example of what the radical animal rights activists are capable of when trying to influence the public. We have reviewed the videos and the abuse shown and it is extremely hard to watch. The behavior towards and treatment of the calves in these videos is inexcusable and unacceptable. If you have not yet seen the videos, be prepared if you do decide to view them.

Radical Animal Right Groups and the Videos They Publish

The primary goal of animal rights groups is to put an end to animals in human control and care. Animal agriculture has always been one of the main targets of the animal rights agenda. With the urbanization of our society, unfortunately, most Americans know little to nothing about livestock welfare, how it is raised, or why things are done a certain way. This naivety allows animal rights groups to warp information and situations to suit their agenda and present themselves to the public as an authority on animal care, which they are not. One way they do this is to demonize animal agriculture by producing videos with intentionally high shock value, most often by any means necessary.

Here are a few common practices:

  • Video editing to shock and incite the unknowing public
  • Paying current or planting “employees” to act in front of their “undercover video investigator”
  • Complete video scripting and staging
  • Using props for effect
  • Using computer generation

In addition to these common practices, here are a few other scenarios we often see from animal rights activist “undercover” videos.

  • They do not report any abuse they may see to management, owners, or authorities in a timely manner.
  • Videos are published months after being taken. Is it because they do not want their videographer or “actors” charged with cruelty or as an accessory, making what they have done public knowledge?
  • The organizations posting the videos often will not turn “un-cut” footage over to law enforcement.
  • They make claims that law enforcement is incompetent or corrupt as the reason they must take matters into their own hands. This attitude hinders law enforcement from being able to build a good case against the alleged abusers as the evidence that is shared by animal right groups is then tainted. Further proof they do not care about the animals that may have been harmed.

What Kind of Person Takes A Video Instead of Stopping Abuse?

Keep in mind, the activists that seek employment at livestock facilities are not there to save those animals from cruelty, only to further their agenda, which, depending on the type of video, could mean they commit abuse for the sake of the camera.

No self-respecting person concerned with animal welfare would stand by and watch what these videos portray. They would either stop it, or at the minimum report it to owners, managers, or the authorities immediately. It’s clear by the fact that videos are filmed instead of abuse stopped (if it isn’t staged) that animal rights ideologues view their “under cover videos” as a means to an end. If an animal gets hurt along the way, it is just a casualty of war in their process.

ARM – The Radical Animal Rights Group Behind The Abuse Videos

The recently released video from Fair Oaks Farms was produced by Animal Recovery Mission (ARM) a confirmed radical animal rights activist group. ARM presents itself as a paramilitary organization complete with Special Ops type uniforms and gear. Here are some quotes from their founder that provides some insight into their mentality and tactics;

  • “I’m not a cop, I’m not an attorney, and I do not play by their rules” “Infiltrate their property, infiltrate their lives, collect as much information as I possibly can. Strike that operation and we are going to wreck your lives…”
  • “We don’t hire people because they’re animal lovers. I need someone who can do the investigation, get the job done, and get the evidence”

Note: More information about ARM will be available on our website.

Observations from the Fair Oaks Farms Video

  • The video shows dairy calves being branded. It is not common practice for Midwest dairies to brand their calves.
  • The temperatures shown on the thermometers were much higher than the actual temperatures in Fair Oaks, IN in August and September 2018. The averages were low 80’s to low 90’s with 2 days at 95 degrees. Link
  • Calf hutches are designed to be a barrier to sunlight, producing shade and lower temperatures in summer and insulating them to keep warm in winter. This is a very similar calf hutch to what is shown in the video. Link

We believe this lends evidence to this video being at least partly staged or scripted. The suffering of the calves in the video is horrific and the people that were doing and filming the abuse should be charged with all the crimes they committed.

The State of Indiana Has a Trespass Law Designed to Protect Farmers

It is important for all Indiana farmers to know about the Indiana Trespass Law. We encourage farmers and ranchers in the state to learn about the law and how it works. This law was put into place in order to protect farmers, ranchers and animal owners from the activities of animal rights groups and farmers should utilize it if their farm becomes a target. The Indiana Trespass Law can serve as a model and needs to be proposed in other states.

How the Indiana Trespass Law protects farmers:

“Trespass ab initio is the idea that a person can have access to your property for certain purposes, but when the person exceeds the scope of that purpose, he becomes a trespasser. So, if you allow a feed truck driver onto your farm to deliver feed, he is an invitee. He has license to be there. The moment he leaves the truck to videotape inside the barn, he exceeds that license and becomes a trespasser. The Indiana Trespass Law addresses certain activities, including an employee hired under false pretenses who intends to commit an act outside the scope of her employment or an invitee (think feed truck driver) who is invited onto the property for one purpose, but exceeds the scope of that consent by taking additional actions (like taking video of livestock barns).”

Excerpt from The Schroeder Ag Blog – Published April 24, 2019


Fair Oaks Farms

Fair Oaks Farms owners have made several public statements and videos leading up to and after the release of the ARM videos. They communicate in depth about their feelings surrounding the atrocities on their property and what could have been done to mitigate it. They have also been open about their plans to prevent any such activities in the future. It is important to understand that despite the current controversy, Fair Oaks Farms makes excellent use of modern agriculture practices and has strong practices for employee training and animal welfare.

Here are a few facts about Fair Oaks Farms and the Dairy industry:

  • Fair Oaks Farms is one of the largest dairies in the US as well as the largest agritourism location in the state of Indiana – making them an easy target for animal rights extremists.
  • Video recording was done from August to November 2018.
  • The resulting videos were released starting June 4, 2019 – 7 months later.
  • 3 of the 4 Fair Oaks Farm employees on the video were terminated months before the video was released because they were reported by their co-workers for abuse of the calves. They were all short-term employees and it is possible they were also working under cover for the animal rights group.
  • Indiana Board of Animal Health officials reviewed compliance records and complaint logs for Fair Oaks Farms. No reports of animal abuse or neglect have been filed with the agency since the farms’ founding in the mid-1990s.
  • Fair Oaks Farms has 8 farm locations and at least 800 employees.
  • Calf hutches serve an important purpose on dairies. Calves are vulnerable animals. When they are very young, having individual care ensures their food intake, biosecurity, and overall health is monitored. The hutches you see in the video are designed for the care and comfort of the calf.
  • A farmer’s livelihood is dependent on the care of their animals. Healthy animals are more productive. It is just basic common sense that they ensure the welfare of their livestock. Farming and ranching are more than just a job, it is a lifestyle, caring for the animals is a 7 day a week commitment. Abuse on farms is rare. Quite the opposite picture than what animal rights groups try to paint.

What Should Animal Agriculture Do to Combat the Animal Rights Attacks?

Farmers of all shapes and sizes have been targeted by radical animal rights groups. Most do not have the financial resources to fight back and get the truth out there as that comes at great personal sacrifice. We hope that Fair Oaks Farms, their affiliates, and business partners stand up to this video and help educate the public on the animal rights agenda. They are not alone in this controversy. All of agriculture needs to support each other when things like this happen. Great and small, the goal of animal rights groups is to end all animal use.

Tips and Recommendations:

Be extremely careful when hiring: do thorough background and reference checks, any answers that seem well rehearsed are a sign of coaching, use of incorrect farm terminology is a red flag.

  • Search applicants on social media, a lot can be learned about affiliations and beliefs.
  • Be vigilant about who you allow on your property.
  • Install a video surveillance system, monitor it, and have cameras in all areas where your employees interact with your animals. Here is an example: https://arrowsight.com/agribusiness
  • Consider the animal rights ideology, do not stand idly by while they “educate” the American consumers about animal agriculture.
  • Look at your agriculture business through the eyes of your customer. Confirm the trust you want from them. Start conversations to help educate the public on your animal welfare and health practices.
  • Always look for ways to improve animal welfare with employee training and education, signed contracts, team building, and facility improvements.
  • If you realize you have been targeted, do not wait to inform authorities, media, and your livestock groups (cattlemen’s, pork producers, etc.). Get to know your local, state, and federal laws that may be of assistance. Start the conversation and let your neighbors and laws help you. There are resources available.

Learn More About Animal Agriculture and Welfare

What Farmers and Ranchers need to Know
Falling from Grace Animal Welfare – What We Have Learned
Animal Agriculture Alliance

Other Animal Rights Video De-bunking

The below links show a few other examples of animal rights videos being scripted, edited, and the use of computer generation.

HSUS Whistleblower
PETAs Dairy Farm Video Debunked
Mashable Busts PETA for Fake Abuse Videos

We would also like to share the movie “The Dog Lover” supported by Protect The Harvest produced by ESX. It is based on a true story.

Together We Can Stand Up to Animal Rights Groups

Protect The Harvest supports and works to protect all types and sizes of farms and ranches. They all play an important part in our society. As the animal rights movement is gaining ground and what happened to Fair Oaks Farms is becoming more commonplace, we must all come together to protect animal agriculture.

“It’s time for farmers, ranchers, hunters, and pet owners to wake up and understand that the Animal Rights Extremists are a force to be reckoned with. They are extremely well funded and have an ideology and tactics bordering on fanaticism and terrorism. They know that the politicians and media will not speak out against their massive lobbying machine. They have infiltrated and manipulated law enforcement at every level. We are decades behind them, and they are fighting from the high ground.”

~ John Bolin
Former law enforcement officer & former animal rights group investigator, now a valued educator into the animal rights movement

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