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New Undercover Video Shows Alleged Abuse at Another Dairy Farm

An investigation remained ongoing and interviews were still being conducted, according to authorities

Not long after an undercover investigation sparked widespread outrage at an Indiana dairy farm, the group responsible for the operation has released new video showing alleged animal abuse at another farm. 

The Animal Recovery Mission released their third undercover operation into the dairy industry Tuesday, this time focusing on organic milk producer Natural Prairie Dairy in Texas. 

"Our investigator witnessed extreme and violent animal cruelty on a daily basis," said AJ Garcia with ARM, which describes itself online as a "non profit investigative organization dedicated to eliminating severe animal cruelty operations."

The group said its investigator captured pictures of cows being kicked and placed in a restraint to force feed them. ARM said video shows overcrowded and feces-infested living conditions for the milk-producing cows. 

"Cows were stabbed with screwdrivers, kicked and dragged when unable to stand due to illness and fatigue. Cows were repeatedly and violently inseminated and mother cows were witnessed being chased whilst giving birth, and the babies immediately ripped away from their mothers," ARM alleged in its report following the investigation. 

Natural Prairie is owned in part by Donald De Jong, who also serves on the board for Fairlife, which was supplied by the previously targeted Fair Oaks Farms. Fairlife said, however, it "does not source - and never has sourced - milk from the farm in this video." 

Natural Prairie, which is set to open a new operation in Newton County, Indiana, did not respond to NBC Chicago's requests for comment on the ARM investigation.

On its website Friday, Fairlife posted a "statement on animal care" where it said third-party audits of all of its supplying dairy farms were conducted and "did not report any evidence of any animal cruelty or abuse."

"In addition to audit results, we consistently measure somatic cell and standard plate counts," the statement from Fairlife COO Time Doelman read. "Our supplying farms consistently deliver low counts, which are key indicators of good animal health and are consistent with best practice protocols for animal management developed with veterinarians." 

Still, the company said "we believe in better," and announced plans 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 strive to ensure we are protecting animals, they will hold fairlife to a higher standard that reflects our true values," Doelman wrote. 

ARM's previous investigation into Fair Oaks Farms last month resulted in charges against three men. According to officials, the suspects in the case face misdemeanor and felony charges of beating a vertebrate animal, and could face up to two and a half years in prison.

After the videos were posted, several retail chains dropped Fairlife products from their shelves, and the company issued numerous statements condemning the actions of staff and promising action to rectify the situation.

"We do not condone any type of abuse and are taking this information seriously," Fairlife said at the time, adding that it immediately suspended milk deliveries from the dairy identified in the video. 

"The dairy identified in the video represents less than 5 percent of fairlife’s total milk supply," the company said in a statement on its website. "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."

The Coca-Cola Corporation, which distributes Fairlife products, also said in a statement it has been in contact with Fairlife about the situation and has "full confidence in their management team to urgently address this issue with Fair Oaks Farms, which is a third-party supplier to fairlife." 

Calling it the "largest undercover dairy investigation in history," ARM,  said the Fair Oaks Farms video documents "systemic and illegal abuse."

(Read the full report on the investigation here - WARNING: graphic content)

"It is evident no more than ever that the inhumane treatment and confinement of cows in the dairy industry are systemic and rampant," Garcia said Tuesday.

Free From Harm, an organization that focuses on ending cow milk consumption through awareness said ARM's investigation is "a big deal." 

"The moral is cruelty and the more you visit farms, the dairy farms, the more you will discover this," said Free From Harm Founder Robert Grillo. 

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