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 the Brook, Indiana resident.
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.
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.
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.
Animal Recovery Mission released another video Wednesday showing workers at the farm punching and striking cows with poles while loading them into a milking carousel.
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.”