Class Action Settlement: US Dairy Industry to Pay $52 Million in Price-Fixing Conspiracy that Killed Cows and Cheated Consumers

smcdonald Animals, Campaigns, Legal Advocacy, Victories 24 Comments

As Compassion Over Killing has exposed time and again, the dairy industry has consistently shown its lack of regard for animal welfare — from newborn calves who are taken away from their mothers to “spent” cows shipped off to slaughter.

That’s hardly where the unethical behavior ends.

According to a class action lawsuit filed in 2011, the industry’s also milking its own consumers by illegally jacking up prices. Now, five years later, the case is being settled — for a whopping $52 million!

COK conducted the initial case theory research and development, and then brought it to class action firm Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP, who filed the lawsuit on behalf of millions of harmed dairy consumers in the US. Upon filing, the case sparked major media headlines, including the Los Angeles Times, Huffington Post, Seattle Weekly and more.

How did the price-fixing scheme work?  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.  

In all, this dairy industry program was responsible for killing 500,000 young cows and cheating millions of consumers — all to line the pockets of agribusiness giants.

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.” (full press release available)

Compassion Over Killing is proud to have spearheaded the research that led to this class action suit brought by Hagens Berman on behalf of millions of consumers harmed by the dairy industry,” says Cheryl Leahy, General Counsel for Compassion Over Killing. “Not only was the price of milk artificially inflated, but this scheme ultimately also cost 500,000 young cows their lives.”

If you’re one of the millions of consumers whose money has been milked by the dairy industry, you can file a claim by January 31, 2017. Details can be found here or at www.boughtmilk.com.

The best way we can help cows and opt out of supporting cruelty and corruption in animal agribusiness is by leaving animal products like dairy and meat off our plates. With so many delicious plant-based options available, it’s easier than ever before. Please visit TryVeg.com today to get started.

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