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July 05, 2019 | fairlife Featured News

fairlife Statement on Animal Care

 

July 5th, 2019:

Update from fairlife COO Tim Doelman on fairlife’s commitment to audit our supplying farms

As part of fairlife’s ongoing commitment to continuous improvement and to ensure our supplying dairies are in compliance with the National Dairy FARM (Farmers Assuring Responsible Management) animal welfare program, last month we committed to conducting third-party audits of our supplying dairy farms. This note is to update you on our progress.

As of today, our third-party auditor, Food Safety Net Services Certification and Audit (FSNS C&A), has completed audits of farms representing 90% of fairlife’s milk supply. FSNS C&A is in the process of completing the remaining audits and compiling a detailed audit report. We will post additional details of their audit findings by July 21st. In the meantime, here’s a summary of their key findings so far:

  • Zero tolerance policies: The auditors verified that all of the farms’ employees have committed to our zero tolerance policy on animal abuse. Violation of this policy results in termination of any employee who has abused an animal on one occasion and, if appropriate, leads to an investigation by law enforcement.
  • Healthy and well-cared for cows: Key animal wellness indicators, such as cow/calf hygiene and body condition met or exceeded performance target scores for each of these categories.
  • Animal welfare training: The auditors verified that all the farms had signed training records and documentation for specific animal care best practices.

 

Also as we previously communicated, fairlife has discontinued the use of milk from Fair Oaks Farms.

Having grown up on a dairy farm, I wanted to revisit the operations for myself. So, in addition to having the third-party audits conducted, I have personally visited a majority of our supplying farms. I was pleased with what I saw as it is consistent with the FSNS C&A audit findings outlined above and demonstrates that our supplying farms are in compliance with the FARM program animal welfare standards.

fairlife is fully committed to requiring all our supplying farms to meet our animal welfare standards. To help meet that commitment going forward, each of our supplying farms will be audited 24 times per year, and all of these audits will be unannounced.

Stay tuned for additional findings from our third-party audits, which we will post here by July 21st.

Tim Doelman
COO, fairlife

If you have any further questions, contact us here.

 


 

June 12th, 2019:

Valued Fans and Friends of fairlife,

We at fairlife are committed to the humane and compassionate care of animals – it is one of our core values. As previously communicated, fairlife has already discontinued the use of milk from Fair Oaks Farms.

Just like you, we have seen the videos online that were recorded earlier this year at Fair Oaks Farms.

Here is an update on the actions fairlife is taking to reinforce our commitment to the humane and compassionate care of animals at all our supplying farms:

  1. We committed to you that we would visit and audit all 30 of our supplying farms in 30 days.

These audits are already underway and will be completed by July 6, 2019.

  1. We committed to increase the frequency of our supplying farm audits to 24 per year, all of which will be unannounced.

We have enlisted an independent industry-leading auditor to partner with us on this ongoing program.

  1. We committed to requiring all supplying farms’ employees be re-certified in animal welfare training on an annual basis.

We are in the process of notifying all supplying farms that all of their employees will need to complete a mandatory animal welfare training program and be re-certified on an annual basis.

  1. We committed to holding our supplying farms to the highest enforcement standards of our zero-tolerance policy on animal abuse.

We are requiring all supplying farms to sign updated contracts agreeing that they will terminate any employees caught abusing an animal and, if applicable, cooperate with investigations by law enforcement.

More than these steps, we understand we need to constantly push ourselves to attain the highest level of transparency, sustainability, and animal well-being. One way we’re pursuing this higher ground is to enlist an advisory council of independent experts in veterinary health sciences, animal well-being, workforce improvement, ethical farming practices and on-farm innovation. Not only will the council ensure we are protecting animals, they will hold fairlife and the dairy industry to a higher standard that reflects our true values.

This is our commitment to you.

Mike Saint John
CEO, fairlife

If you have any further questions, contact us here.

 


 

June 8th, 2019:

A message from fairlife Chief Operating Officer Tim Doelman about the questions you’ve been asking and the actions fairlife is taking:

 


 

June 6th, 2019:

Like those of you who love our products, we were devastated by the abuse that was recently discovered at Fair Oaks Farms, one of our supplying farms. Since fairlife was founded in 2012, we have strived to uphold our farming values centered around sustainability, transparency and animal care.

We were appalled and deeply saddened to learn of the abuse by several Fair Oaks Farms employees, who are now under criminal investigation. Such acts will not be tolerated, and we have taken immediate action to address the situation and to protect animals at all supplying farms, including:

  • We have discontinued the use of milk from Fair Oaks Farms.
  • We believe these unfortunate incidents occurred at the hands of a few employees, and we will confirm there is no systemic problem with any of our suppliers. Starting this week, we will visit all 30 of our supplying farms in the next 30 days, to be completed by July 6, 2019.
  • We are increasing the frequency of our random audits to 24 per year for each of our supplying farms, all of which will be unannounced.
  • We will require that all supplying farms’ employees are re-certified in animal welfare training on an annual basis.
  • We are demanding our supplying farms continue to enforce a zero-tolerance policy for animal abuse, which will result in termination of any employees caught abusing an animal and, if appropriate, investigation by law enforcement.

 

In this case, Fair Oaks Farms has terminated the individuals who did not adhere to the farm’s practices. Fair Oaks Farms is cooperating with law enforcement officers, and will continue to hold anyone associated with this issue responsible for their actions.

While Fair Oaks Farms is just one of 30 farms that contributes to fairlife’s total milk supply, any single instance of abuse is unacceptable.

There is no excusing this behavior. It is wrong. It is not what we stand for, and we are now even more committed to protecting the animals that supply our milk and moving forward together.

We are actively working on a comprehensive update to our animal welfare and quality assurance program. As part of our ongoing commitment to animal welfare, we are using this incident as a learning experience. We know we can play an important role in improving animal welfare across the dairy industry and are committed to putting enhanced practices and procedures in place to ensure this never happens again.

This is our commitment to you.

Mike Saint John
CEO, fairlife

If you have any further questions, contact us here.

 


 

June 5th, 2019:

Valued Fans and Friends of fairlife,

We have become aware that an animal rights activist group (ARM) went undercover at one of our dairy suppliers, Fair Oaks Farms, earlier this year. ARM has recently released an animal abuse video and held several press conferences to make their findings public.

As part of our core values of responsible farming and animal care, we at fairlife LLC are taking this incident very seriously. We and Fair Oaks Farms are taking the following steps:

  • Immediately suspend milk deliveries from the dairy identified in the video to fairlife;
  • Fair Oaks Farm has terminated the four individuals identified in the video that did not adhere to the farm’s stringent animal welfare practices;
  • As outlined in a letter from Dr. Mike McCloskey at Fair Oaks Farms, they have provided the video to local Indiana law enforcement to review for potential criminal charges against the individuals involved;
  • Fair Oaks Farms commissioned an independent auditor, Food Safety Net Services Certification & Audit (FSNS C&A), recommended by the National Milk Producers’ Federation, to conduct an audit of animal welfare practices at the identified farm. Those results are public and will be made available at www.fofarms.com;
  • Fair Oaks Farms has committed to conduct independent, unannounced and random audits and install video surveillance to ensure the highest levels of animal care are maintained;
  • Until these new assurances are in place, no milk from the dairy in the video will be included in fairlife LLC products.

 

The dairy identified in the video represents less than 5 percent of fairlife’s total milk supply. Approximately 30 dairies support fairlife; therefore, we are visiting all supplying dairies in person and conducting independent 3rd party audits within the next 30 days to verify all animal husbandry practices at the farms, including all training, management and auditing practices. We will also continue to work with Fair Oaks Farms to ensure specific actions are taken to address this situation and uphold our high standards for animal care.

Please reach out to us with any questions about this matter. For information specific to Fair Oaks Farms’ response to this matter, please see their statement or contact [email protected].

With best regards,

Mike Saint John
CEO, fairlife LLC