Sometimes no matter what you do, it never will be enough for some people. You can make a mistake — even unknowingly — and make every conceivable correction to remedy that action, and some people still will want more.
Fair Oaks Farms, the working dairy operation and entertainment and learning center in Indiana finds itself mired in that unenviable position. Long a destination for school field trips, the business finds itself in reputation control after a video was made public. Recorded last year, the video showed some less than hospitable treatment to some of Fair Oaks Farms cows.
Animal lovers and some parents now find it their mission to take matters into their hands. They are outraged. They want action. Mind you, the public is learning about the video seven months after it was recorded. The owner of Fair Oaks Dairy knew about it before we did. Those responsible for the unkind treatment of the animals were dismissed from the company. By the owner’s own admission in a video released by the company, although he was not aware of the misconduct of those involved until it was reported to him, he took full responsibility and implemented new procedures to ensure what happened won’t be repeated. His response included more in-depth monitoring of operations and retraining of staff.
Videos of the abuse of the animals and the owner’s response are readily available. The abuse video was completed in November. The public learned about it this past week. What occurred during that seven-month gap seems irrelevant to some people hell-bent on making the business suffer. The owner admitted he was appalled by what he witnessed. He took corrective action. He reached out to the group that made the video. He has apologized to the public. What more can be done?
I kind of get the passion of animal lovers and even tree lovers for that matter. But their response to this incident is a clear case of aggressive overload. They want more. More what is not clear. Schools and other groups have canceled field trips to the farm. Some parents refuse to allow their children to visit the farm. Two milk retailers have ended contracts with the dairy.
Again, I realize humans can be cruel to animals. But, where is this degree of outrage when humans are cruel to other humans? Do we stop our children from attending places where children have been abused? Do we shut those places down? Even when those in charge of places where child abuse occurred enabled the abuse or even participated in the abuse of children, do we call for an immediate boycott? No, we don’t. In some cases, the abused children are returned to the exact place of the crime.
The reporting of the video has created what some are calling a media circus. It is even a big story for Chicago news outlets. It is breaking news that a few cows out of thousands were kicked, beaten, tossed around or were housed in conditions comparable to Chicago Public Housing.
In some instances, media personalities are just as outraged, real or imagined, as the public and are calling for additional action to be taken by Fair Oaks Farms or law enforcement. People who have careers covering human beings killed by other humans on a daily basis suddenly are outraged by the mistreatment of a few cows?
This story is about fake outrage and hypocrisy.
If what happened at Fair Oaks Farms bothers you that much, stop drinking milk and eating cheese and take your kids to the zoo. If production animals being prodded with a kick is newsworthy of bypassing another murder spree, ask for a new beat.
Do not get on the highest social media horse and tell the world to be just as fake mad as you are. Do not suggest actions to put a viable business out of business.
The filmed dairy animals are produced for the benefit of our enjoyment and sustenance. They exist to produce butter, milk and cheese. They are not companions with names such as Fido and Fifi.
We are supposed to be the superior species. Sometimes, I wonder.