Excerpted from the Seattle P-I....
A Seattle law firm is taking on dairies, claiming that a price-fixing scheme has consumers paying too much for milk.
The class-action lawsuit accuses companies of slaughtering thousands of cows just to decrease supply.
Animal rights group Compassion Over Killing was the first to uncover the alleged systematic slaughter of healthy dairy cows in California. The group turned to Seattle attorney Steve Berman, who filed the suit claiming more than half a million U.S. dairy cows were slaughtered over seven years to artificially reduce the supply of milk and drive up prices.
"The cooperatives got together and instituted what we'll call a killing program; they retired cows," he said. Berman said the milk producers called it "dairy herd retirement", but he insists it was a way to cheat consumers and line their own pockets.
"Using their own numbers, we calculated conservatively that (they) raised the price of milk over a seven-year period by $10 billion," Berman said.
Berman said all milk products - everything from cheese to butter - got more expensive. His firm sued Cooperatives Working Together, its members are dairy companies and trade groups.