Fairlife Animal Abuse


Eva Serrano

Fairlife milk uses a stylized “i” in their brand logo. Their milk product display in a Houston area grocery store.

In early 2019, people from the Animal Recovery Mission (ARM) went undercover to the Fair Oaks Farm in Indiana and recorded countless acts of gruesome abuse towards the cows. The founder of ARM, Couto, said: “Fair Oaks Farms was the worst abuse towards newborn babies that [he had] ever seen.” The video was published in the summer of 2019 and went viral, sparking countless protests and boycotts. Companies pulled their ties from Fairlife, and stores stopped having Fairlife products on their shelves. What topped it all of was the oxymoron of it all. A company name with the literal definition of being honorable was abusing their animals behind closed doors—what a joke.

Cows are emotionally complex animals, just like us. They deserve to be treated humanely. Throughout the video, calves born less than an hour before were ripped away from their mothers. The calves were placed in confined sheds, and the mothers were sent right back to the milking rotary. In many cases, they still had their placentas hanging out of their bodies. Cows were forced fed and beaten until they could no longer move or were dead. There was not a single time when the cows received medical care even though they suffered from injuries and infections.

There were comments under the video of the animal treatment saying, “it didn’t matter as they were going to be dead one day.” So what about us? Humans will also die someday, yet no one wants to live miserable lives. Or “That’s what my burger is doing right now.” An insensitive joke made during a video of animals being brutalized, as if they were toys for their profit. There is a time and place for jokes, and that was neither the time nor place.

What many want to know is if anything has changed since the video’s release. On Fairlife’s website, they state, “That the animals who provide fairlife dairy products are cared for and cared about is a top priority for fairlife.” In 2020 they also hired a vet as the Director of Animal Welfare and Sustainable Farming. Other than this, they have not provided any evidence of how they have changed. Well before the video exposing them was released, Fairlife had claimed many times, and it was also on their website that “Nothing is as important to us as the health and well-being of our animals.” Which was clearly a lie as it was revealed that they were, in fact, not caring for the animals. So what is to say that they are still abusing their animals?

Since the people from the Animal Recovery Mission were the ones who conducted the investigation and brought the truth out, they should be allowed to do monthly check-ins with the farms. They do not have an alliance with the farms, so there wouldn’t be business interference. In addition, the ARM would be able to confirm if Fairlife is staying true to its word.

What Fairlife did to its animals can be forgiven but not forgotten. Those cows will always live with the scars and trauma. All that is left is to ensure that it never happens again.