Trials & Litigation

Antitrust Suit Alleges Dairy Groups Killed 500,000 Cows to Drive Up the Price of Dairy Products

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A price-fixing lawsuit filed yesterday in federal court in San Francisco contends that a so-called dairy cow retirement program in California was actually intended to drive up the price of milk and other dairy products by killing healthy animals, reports KOMO.

Over 500,000 dairy cows were slaughtered before their time, costing consumers some $10 billion over seven years, as a result of the alleged conspiracy between milk producing entities, says attorney Steve Berman, who is representing the plaintiffs in a lawsuit they intend to bring as a class action. The plaintiffs contend that prices will remain artificially high for years to come, even though the dairy cow retirement program ended last year.

One of the defendants, Cooperatives Working Together, said in a written statement provided to the news station that the suit is meritless and will be vigorously defended:

“The program was designed and has always been operated in a manner fully consistent with the antitrust laws of the United States,” the group says. National Milk Producers Federation, which is also among the named defendants, the statement continues, “will vigorously defend its actions and those of its member cooperatives and their producers in this lawsuit and expect that those actions will ultimately be vindicated.”

A press release by the Hagens Berman law firm provides additional details.

A copy of the complaint (PDF) is provided by Compassion Over Killing, which did investigative work for the plaintiffs in the case.

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