We all wake up every morning to a delicious glass of creamy and rich milk for breakfast and even go to bed after drinking a wholesome and filling glass of it. The most delectable ingredients around the world are considered dairy products like butter, cheese, curd, etc. that can make any dish taste a gazillion times better than without them in it.
But how are these ingredients obtained or rather from who? From the cows and buffalos. But what methods are used to obtain them? The Fairlife milk scandal of 2019 that surfaced through an undercover animal abusive video by Animal Recovery Mission- an animal welfare activist group reveals the unnecessary animal abuse and animal cruelty carried out at Fair Oaks Farm, the dairy supplier of Fairlife, to obtain milk from cows and calves.
What Is The Fairlife Milk Scandal?
Back in 2019, a video of the Fair Oak dairy farms surfaced on the internet and went viral around the United States as well as other nations. The video showed the employees continuously punching, kicking, pushing, and slamming the calves, throwing them inside kennels, and snapping their tails after being forcefully fed milk replacers that can cause ulcers and other digestive disorders in them.
Animal Abuse at Fair Oaks farms
The video was recorded by an ARM investigator under the Operation Fair Oaks Farms Dairy Adventures who witnessed the animal abuse within the first few hours of his joining the farm. This cruelty begins with the mothers immediately getting separated from their calves post-birth and while the mothers keep screaming for their babies, the calves are kept outside in the extreme weather and beaten all day long with steel rebars, hit in the mouth with plastic milk replacer bottles, and burned with hot branding irons.
The abuse wasn’t limited to this. The cows after being inseminated artificially once gave birth to the calves were made to return to their sheds with their placentas still out, and were inseminated again and again for more babies for the veal industry in North Manchester apart from getting milked several times a day. The video shows how calves are malnourished and thrown into trucks to be taken to veal farms.
Once the cows stopped lactating, they were also sent to slaughterhouses for earning profits. The ARM reports specify the lack of medical attention to factory-farmed cows and calves even when infected with diseases. As a result, these cows and calves would die, contrary to the farm’s strategy of appearing as an animal welfare focussed business.
How Was Fairlife Affected?
Many dairy companies around the nation sourced their milk from Fair Oaks Farms and as a result, Fairlife (acquired and owned by Coca-Cola) sourcing its dairy supplies from Fair Oaks Farms received a backlash from customers nationwide and worldwide for such unnecessary animal abuse.
Customers and grocery sellers nationwide boycotted Fairlife’s products entirely and some even decided to boycott dairy products entirely. While Fairlife claimed to be cruelty-free and stated “Ensuring that the animals who provide Fairlife dairy products are cared for and cared about is a top priority for Fairlife” even before the 2019 scandal, it had continued to buy from Fair Oaks Farms.
Fair Oaks farms also claimed on its website that it was “committed…caring for our animals.” After the community’s backlash against Fairlife, Coca-Cola gave a public statement that they had immediately stopped sourcing from Fair Oaks Farms.
Does Fairlife Still Abuse Cows?
Since the US has put in place ag-gag laws that prevent farm animals from being filmed or recorded, little is known about Fairlife still abusing cows.
After the surfacing of the Fairlife abuse videos and breaking ties with Fair Oaks Farms- the epitome of animal abuse and cruelty, Fairlife was boycotted across the nation for not having more strict animal welfare policies in place and lawsuits were filed against the brand by the animal defense legal fund.
As a result, the dairy brand set up an animal welfare advisory council of experts to investigate the case. Technically there were governance laws in place before, however, the new and more strengthened animal care programs pursued by Fairlife since 2019 are certified by Validus and DairyCARE approved which makes us want to believe that Fairlife has improved manifold to achieve the cruelty-free status.
What Is The Reality of The Dairy Industry?
But from this scandal, if people didn’t know already, they realized that the Fair Oaks Farm Dairy Adventures operation is not just the reality of Fair Oaks Farms but almost all of the dairy industry and animal agriculture industry.
While Fairlife states that the welfare of their animals means everything to them since the brand’s business relies on these animals’ welfare, one must note that they are still doing business and maximizing their profits and personal gains matters on top of everything else to these big brand companies.
More importantly, the US has put in place ag-gag laws that prevent farm animals from being filmed or recorded. The investigation results of the Fairlife animal abuse case further prove that not much can be known about what goes behind the gates of farm factories and that customers can easily be misled.
But one thing is for certain- though animals and humans have a heart and emotions in equal amounts, animals are treated as mere beasts and creatures without a soul at the hands of the intelligent human race.
How Can Animal Abuse be Avoided?
While the world cannot be changed in a day or two, there most certainly is a more feasible, sustainable, and ethical concept of veganism that can be opted by mankind. By incorporating insights from vegan blogs and vegan podcasts, individuals can make informed choices and avoid dairy scandals from repeating time and again.
According to scientific research, producing cow milk releases three times more greenhouse gasses as compared to the production of vegan milk. Moreover, consuming vegan products contributes to one’s social, and environmental health.
Vegan products can keep one more energetic and healthy whereas lactose products can cause obesity, heart diseases, and other psychological diseases.
Everything comes with its own set of alternatives and this applies very much so to the peoples’ lifestyles. With the changing times, notions are changing. Fighting for a cause has a much larger impact and brings in genuine and positive results if one decides to stay firm on their rational and more humane beliefs.
Therefore, we as consumers of products must make a cautious and more humane approach towards animals for their own sake as well as the animals’ sake and give as much back to the environment as we have taken from it.