1 arrested on animal cruelty charges at Fair Oaks Farms

FAIR OAKS, Ind. -- Authorities have arrested the first of three people charged with animal cruelty after a graphic video showed workers kicking and throwing young calves at a northwest Indiana farm.

Edgar Gardozo-Vasquez, 36, was arrested on charges of animal cruelty and torturing or mutilating a vertebrate animals, according to the Newton County sheriff's office. Immigration Customs Enforcement has placed a hold on him.

Outstanding warrants remain for Santiago Ruvalcaba Contreros, 31, and Miguel Angel Navarro Serrano, 39, the sheriff's office said.

The charges follow the release last week of secretly recorded videos posted by Animal Recovery Mission that showed brutal treatment of calves by five people at the Fair Oaks Farms in 2018.

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Authorities have arrested the first of three people charged with animal cruelty after a graphic video showed workers kicking and throwing young calves at a northwest Indiana farm.



The animal rights group claimed Fair Oaks Dairy Farm in Fair Oaks, Indiana, is mistreating its cows. Fair Oaks Farms produces dairy products under the Fairlife brand label.

The group said that the footage shows the "daily mistreatment of the resident farm animals" at the farm's dairies about 70 miles south of Chicago located off I-65.

A new video was released Wednesday. The footage shows cows being milked allegedly just minutes after giving birth. There are scenes of workers kicking and punching cows as they load them into the farm's milk carousel machine. Other images show cows packed up against each other in captivity and discarded corpses on the ground.

It is just the latest release made by Animal Recovery Mission in its efforts to uncover what it says is a pattern of animal abuse at Northwest Indiana's Fair Oaks Farms and in the dairy industry in general.

RELATED:3 charged in animal cruelty case at Fair Oaks dairy farms, police say

"Showing the world not just what Fairlife has been doing to their animals in their dairies, but what the dairy industry is all about in general. I can assure you there's no happy cow sitting next to a happy calf in a green pasture in dairies. It does not exist," said Richard Cuoto with the Animal Recovery Mission.
Ever since the first undercover videos were released last week, several retailers have taken Fairlife products off their shelves, and at least one lawsuit has been filed against the company.

Fair Oaks Farms founder Mike McCloskey said in a statement that four employees seen in the video have 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 Farm was the flagship location of Chicago-based dairy company Fairlife. Since the release of the video, grocers such as Jewel-Osco and Tony's Fresh Market said they are pulling Fairlife products from their stores. People on social media have called for a boycott against the company.

Fairlife COO Tim Doelman told the Sun-Times that the company has cut ties with Fair Oaks Farm. The farm has been a popular destination for school field trips that Food & Wine magazine once called the "Disneyland of agriculture tourism."

Questions regarding acceptable farm practices should be directed to the Indiana State Board of Animal Health as they are the governing body. They can be contacted by e-mail animalhealth@boah.in.gov.

WLS-TV contributed to this report.