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The Dairy Price-Fixing Episode

Story ID:11137
Written by:Suzana Margaret Megles (bio, contact, other stories)
Location:- various usa
Year:2011
Person:Compassion Over Killing
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Today I read something that shocked me re the dairy industry. A group called
Compassion Over Killing (COK) exposed the dairy industry for being involved in a
price-fixing conspiracy. Many of us have already known about their consistent lack
of regard for animal welfare –from newborn calves who are taken away from their
mothers to “spent” cows being shipped off to slaughter. But now learning about
their price-fixing scheme conspiracy should not have surprised us, but it did –at
least for me.

A class action lawsuit was filed in 2011 exposing the industry’s “milking” its own
consumers by illegally jacking up prices. Finally now -5 years later- the case is being
settled for a whopping $52 million dollars.

It was through the efforts of COK that this happened. They conducted the initial case
theory research and development which was then brought to the law firm of Hagens
Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP. These lawyers then filed the lawsuit on behalf of millions
of dairy consumers. According to COK, the filing of this case sparked major media
headlines in the Los Angeles Times, Huffington Post, Seattle Weekly, and other news
outlets.

I don’t know how I missed this news as I get e-mails from Huffington Post, but I’m glad
that at last I was made more fully aware of this terrible wrong through the newsletter
of All-Creatures who featured COK’s wonderful work in this regard.

COK informed us how the price-fixing scheme worked: “A trade group representing
70% of the dairy industry, including the National Milk Producers Federation, Dairy
Farmers of America, and Land O’Lakes, created what it euphemistically called a ‘dairy
herd retirement program.’ This program involved buying out individual, often small,
dairy farmers and instructing them to kill their entire dairy herds, mostly young cows,
in a concerted effort to reduce the nation’s milk supply, thus artificially—and illegally-
inflating the price of dairy products.”

As I have a profound respect for all of God’s animal creatures – I certainly felt pain
knowing that young cows were killed unnecessarily so that their scheme to inflate milk
prices would work. COP wrote: “In all, this dairy industry program was responsible for
killing 500,000 cows and cheating millions of consumers—all to line the pockets of
agribusiness giants.” Should not this make Americans angry -that not only people who
consume milk were being duped, but that 500,000 cows were sacrificed on the altar of
greed?

According to Steve Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman, “The biggest dairy
producers in the country, responsible for almost 70 percent of the nation’s milk,
conspired together in a classic price-fixing scheme, forcing higher prices for a basic
food item onto honest consumers and families.”

The class action suit entitles the millions of consumers whose money has been
“milked” by the dairy industry to file a claim by January 31, 2017. Details can be
found at www.boughtmilk.com

But I like even better COP’s advice that if you want to help the cows and opt out of
supporting cruelty and corruption in animal agribusinness –then leave animal products
and dairy off your plate. I personally have not had dairy since 1983, and I don’t miss it
at all. In fact, I feel blessed for not contributing to cow and calf suffering.