Dairy industry sued for alleged illegal price fixing

A class action law suit was filed yesterday by a group of dairy consumers including members of the animal protection group Compassion Over Killing alleging that members of the dairy industry have been illegally fixing prices by artificially inflating costs. The allegations indicate that several dairy companies belonging to Cooperatives Working Together conspired to raise the price of dairy by prematurely slaughtering more than half a million dairy cows as part of its “retirement program” over a seven-year period in order to reduce the supply of milk, thereby driving up prices.

According to the suit (PDF), “…by manipulating the supply of farm milk through herd retirement, price competition has been suppressed and, as a result, indirect purchasers of milk and fresh milk products have paid supracompetitive prices.” The suit alleges that the price fixing scheme helped the cartel yield an additional $10 billion in profit.

Perhaps an early death was merciful for these cows whose counterparts are artificially inseminated only to have their babies taken away within hours of birth. These mother cows are regarded as mere milk producing units, going through this process pregnancy after pregnancy until they’re slaughtered.

Mother cow and calf

Mother cows on dairy farms are protective of their calves and have been known to hide them in wooded or grassy areas, so farmers cannot separate the bonded pair. Photo by Mercy for Animals

Whatever the outcome of the lawsuit, the reality is that the dairy industry is duping consumers into believing that dairy is necessary for good health when the truth is to the contrary. It’s possible, even healthier, to consume diet free of dairy products. A growing body of sound science is increasingly backing a move toward a wholly plant-based diet, free of dairy, meat, and eggs as the way to avoid and even reverse chronic disease.

So consumers needn’t worry about being victims of an industry that has little regard for them or the animals in its supply chain. The great news is they can make their own.

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