State leaders so far are staying mum following the release of undercover videos showing animal abuse committed by former Fair Oaks Farms employees and a third-party truck driver at the so-called "Disneyland" of dairy in Newton County.
Spokeswomen for Gov. Eric Holcomb, who is on vacation this week, and Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, who also serves as Indiana's secretary of agriculture, did not respond Wednesday to requests for comment on the potentially criminal animal cruelty depicted in the videos recorded by Animal Recovery Mission, a Florida-based animal rights group.
The Mike McCloskey-led Select Milk Producers Inc. last year was awarded a $1 million IEDC grant to construct a wastewater treatment plant in Fair Oaks to support the operations of a new cheese production facility in Newton County.
An IEDC spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment about the animal abuse incidents.
Mike McCloskey said in a lengthy statement following release of the videos that he was "disgusted," and takes "full responsibility for the actions seen in the footage."
"It goes against everything that we stand for in regards to responsible cow care and comfort. The employees featured in the video exercised a complete and total disregard for the documented training that all employees go through to ensure the comfort, safety and well-being of our animals," he said.
Former state Sen. Brandt Hershman, R-Buck Creek, said he's confident Fair Oaks will follow through on McCloskey's pledge to implement "more thorough monitoring and training so that this abuse can never happen again."
"Mike McCloskey is one of the most dedicated and honorable people I know," Hershman said. "I can guarantee you he is sick at heart about this."