Three people have been charged in connection with animal cruelty at Fair Oaks Farms, according to the Newton County Sheriff's Office. The charges stem from an undercover video released last week by the animal rights group Animal Recovery Mission, which shows calves being thrown, kicked in the head, hit with steel rods and burnt with branding irons.
Workers are also seen piling dead calves onto farm vehicles and throwing them in mass dump sites at the farm, which is located about 70 miles south of Chicago. The video also shows filthy conditions in the calves' pens, overcrowded transport trucks, and temperature readings of more than 100 inside their hutches.
Police identified the three suspects Tuesday as 31-year-old Santiago Ruvalcaba Contreros, 36-year-old Edgar Gardozo Vazquez and 38-year-old Miguel Angel Navarro Serrano. Prosecutors had charged them Monday with misdemeanor beating of a vertebrate animal and arrest warrants were issued for the men. Officials said other persons of interest are being interviewed, according to CBS Chicago. The investigation is still considered active.
Newton County Prosecutor Jeff Drinski said Monday that Fair Oaks Farms "has cooperated completely in our attempts to identify and interview all persons involved in the videos that we have all viewed over the past week."
Fair Oaks Farms founder Mike McCloskey said in a statement last week that four employees seen in the video had been fired and actions have been taken to prevent further abuse. A fifth person shown in the video was a third-party truck driver who was transporting calves, he said.
Fair Oaks Farms is the flagship farm for Fairlife, a national brand of higher protein, higher calcium and lower fat milk. Some retailers have also pulled Fairlife products from their shelves, including Chicago-area groceries Jewel-Osco and Strack & Van Til and Family Express, which operates convenience stores across Indiana.
On Friday, Fair Oaks Farms suspended its home delivery service of milk, cheese and other products for one week, in part to protect drivers it says are facing harassment over the video.