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‘Disturbing’ video of calves being abused prompts removal of Fairlife dairy items

Casey’s Foods in Naperville joins a growing list of grocery stores pulling the popular Fairlife brand of ultra-filtered milk off their shelves Wednesday after an animal rights group released an undercover video the day before showing alleged abuse of calves at an Indiana dairy farm owned by the milk company.

Officials with the longtime independent grocer said Fairlife products were removed Wednesday afternoon after store management watched the “disturbing video,” and store leaders want customers to know that the humane treatment of animals is important.

Casey’s staff is waiting as police investigate the allegations before deciding what to do next.

Earlier in the day, Itasca-based Jewel-Osco, the largest grocery chain in the Chicago area with 187 stores, including three in Naperville, announced it was removing all Fairlife products as a result of the “inhumane treatment of animals” shown in the video.

“At Jewel-Osco we strive to maintain high animal welfare standards across all areas of our business, and work in partnership with our vendors to ensure those standards are upheld,” the company’s statement said. “We apologize for any inconvenience.”

The video released Tuesday by Animal Recovery Mission and has since gone viral on social media was taken by an undercover investigator posing as a calf care employee at Fair Oaks Farms, located about two hours southwest of Naperville in Jasper County, Ind.

The video shows newborn calves being thrown in and out of their huts by employees, young calves being kicked in the head, and the carcasses of dead calves piled together in the dirt. The footage additionally shows employees striking calves with their hands and steel rods and being burnt with branding irons.

Fair Oaks is the flagship farm for Fairlife, a national brand of higher protein, higher calcium and lower fat milk. It’s also one of the largest dairy farms in the country, promotes its animal welfare practices and hosts Dairy Adventure tours where people can get a “fun-filled look at the life of a cow.”

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