Farmer: ‘Don’t believe everything you see’ about Fair Oaks undercover investigation

BYRON CENTER, Mich. — A West Michigan farmer is encouraging everyone to look into the facts and ask others in the agricultural business before making conclusions on the animal abuse allegedly happening at Fair Oaks Farms in Indiana.

Diane Loew farms with her husband at Indian Trail Farm in near Byron Center. She says she and other diary farmers work extremely hard to care for their animals.

"We do our very best to have high quality everything for our animals because that, in turn, produces good milk for us, which gets us our paycheck," said Loew.

Loew says she can't stomach watching the video released by Animal Recovery Mission, also known as ARM Investigations. While she doesn't deny the abuse happened, she wants others to consider the motive behind the video recording.

"These groups want to get rid of all animal agriculture and this is one way of them doing it," said Loew.

Loew says her farm follows specific procedures when hiring. First, Loew's farm conducts background checks. The hire also must agree to report abuse they see on the farm and afterwards, training.

"Once that is all done, they are hired," said Loew. "We watch them. We don't follow them around. You know, when you hire somebody you try to put your trust in them until you can't."

Dr. Mike McCloskey, owner of Fair Oaks, uploaded a response video after ARM Investigations' recording was released. According to McCloskey, the farm followed similar procedures.

The farm terminated three out of four employees featured on ARM Investigations' video prior to the recording becoming public. McCloskey says fellow co-workers reported the former employees' abuse to management.

"I can guarantee myself, and all the public, that this will not happen again," said McCloskey.

Loew says she believes the farm was potentially set up by the animal rights nonprofit. She says everyone should want to learn more facts before jumping to conclusions.

Loew also encourages anyone who has questions about the dairy industry to reach out to a local farmer.

"We would more than gladly meet you, take you through, show you what you want to see," said Loew.

ARM Investigation replied on Twitter to those who asked if the video was staged or setup. They replied:

"Why on earth would an anti-animal abuse non-profit with 9+ years history of uncovering & prosecuting the worst animal cruelty cases around the world create animal abuse? ... That is clearly a smear tactic by those with vested interests." 

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  • Lorrel A Hop

    To all the wonderful, caring farmers doing a great job such as your organization … I personally do not look as this is happening on all dairy farms. Please feel confident that the public will understand the farmers are NOT all grouped together and if they don’t – then shame on them. With all due respect Mrs. Loew … as you agree the abuse was real here … I cannot agree that this was a setup – as a motive to get rid of animal ag … this is not logical … what would be the sense in this as ARM have stated? I think by suggesting this – you loose credibility.
    I believe Ag President Mr. Truitt stirred this train of thought stating all dairy farmers “must stand together” – one should not stand with a farm where abuse of this extreme has happened … stand with the good dairy farmers who stand for what is right – and public trust in your organization will be there.
    ARM did the right thing by bringing attention to the abuse that CANNOT be denied (even by Fair Oaks owner agreed stating – the ARM video shined light on what was wrong with their process) …. please continue to show your support so this does not happening again anywhere … and have faith that the majority of the public are not lumping you all together. We need are dairy farmers – we ALL know that.
    Thank you Mrs. Loew for giving me the opportunity to let you know where, I hope, alot of us stand with you.

  • Common sense is a super power

    I agree. If these people were truly animal activists with no agenda but to protect animals, they seriously failed. They clearly have other motives than protecting animals against abuse. They let these animals take abuse and did nothing for how long?
    I will continue to drink fairlife milk, and hope the farms do a much better job of policing their workers.

    • Lorrel A Hop

      I keep hearing ARM had other motives other than protecting animal abuse … but I have not clearly read what that is?
      Unfortunately to bring enough info to the law enforcement agencies – ARM needed substantial information as they stated …we all know our judiscial system – unfortunately … BUT better to get it out there however long it took – than not at all ! Right?
      Just sounds like alot of “picking” about the wrong stuff – and efforts to deflect away from the main issue …. ABUSE.


    To Diane Loew,
    Videos do not lie. Proof positive of what has been happening there and it took more than 3-4 people to know what was happening others had to see. The abuse was reported to management who did nothing about it. People are not lumping all dairy farmers into the same category, however I believe all dairy farms should be open to anyone coming in to investigate their practices with the animals they own. None of them should have anything to hide. And those dairy farmers that agree to that will be the ones to overcome damage that has been done to ALL through Fair Oak Farms.

  • Randy Robinson

    I don’t believe they faked anything! How do they explain away that fact that they separate the calves from the mother cows? They have all them a little plastic cages set up for the Calves and denied taking them to become veal.

  • Judith

    Of course videos can be faked. The notion that ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ is bogus. And it is not unknown for individuals and groups to fake the facts if nothing can be found to corroborate their contention. It is also clear that farms and ranches profit from the death of animals. That is, after all how they make their living. These animals are not pets. Still it seems counter productive for farms to cause this amount of damage to their product. And why calves? Of course they are most vulnerable and the sight of their frail bodies and cute faces being beaten and tortured would arouse a good deal of sympathy and outrage. The entire incident seems odd to me. I believe the era in which groups such as ARM and PETA and their tactics is over. They served a purpose in the 70’s and 80’s. They brought the worst depredations to the attention of the public. But today their actions turn more people off than arouse indignation. I find that places like sanctuary farms work better at arousing my sympathy. In fact because the videos of these farms are so successful I am reducing the amount if meat I consume. I eat no pork, very little beef, NO VEAL, and chicken in moderate amounts. Just some random thoughts.

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