By now, we have become all but desensitized to the rampant cruelty and deception present in the dairy industry. They have fooled the public into thinking dairy is necessary for vital nutrients like calcium (despite the fact that there are tons of other foods that provide it). It is an industry of zero compassion, an organization which profits off of forcefully impregnating female cows, robbing them of motherhood, and making their babies live out a life of misery (if they get to live at all), as well. And of course, they ship off male calves to the veal industry and “spent” cows off to be slaughtered in the meat industry. Well, the dairy industry can no longer hide behind the facade of their “happy cow” franchise. After five years of deliberation, they have been slapped with a whopping $52 million class action settlement not only for acting wildly unethically with the cattle in their possession but for harming their own customers.

What did Big Dairy do, exactly? Ah, where to begin… Well, as recent statistics show, milk prices have been going down consistently over the past few years. The price has fallen for several reasons but is mainly due to the fact that the dairy industry has been producing way more milk and cheese than the public even wants. With many consumers learning about the environmental impact, the reality of animal welfare, and the antibiotic use present on factory farms, they are seeking cleaner and healthier alternatives. Now, the government, in good ol’ government fashion, has pretty much bailed the dairy industry out of this situation by buying up some of their supply and creating checkoff programs that incentivize food businesses to add more cheese to things, but apparently, this wasn’t good enough for Big Dairy. Instead, they decided to plot an elaborate scheme to raise milk prices.

According to a recent report from Compassion Over Killing, a trade group representing 70 percent of the dairy industry, including the National Milk Producers Federation, Dairy Farmers of America, and Land O’Lakes, created a program that would buy out individual, often small, dairy farmers and instruct 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. They masqueraded the operation by calling it a “dairy herd retirement program.” Guess they forgot to mention that it was a permanent retirement program…

While your initial reaction may be shock, if you really think about what the dairy industry cares about, this scheme is kind of right up their alley. After all, this industry isn’t truly concerned about the well-being of their customers and it’s most certainly not concerned about the cows in their possession. 500,000 cows losing their lives for profit? Another day in the life of a dairy farmer. Fooling Americans about dairy products? Part of the job description. The only difference, in this case, is that their actions are so astronomically vile and undeniably wrong that there’s no spin they could possibly put on it.

If you’re as sickened by this situation as we are, consider leaving meat and dairy off your plate more often. The dairy industry may seem like a huge, impenetrable organization that will always be rife with corruption and backed by government support. However, the reality is that we all have the power to hold the dairy industry accountable for their actions and choose not to support their cruelty and disgusting antics with our dollar. By leaving meat and dairy off of our plates, we are fighting back with our forks and helping build a food system that doesn’t need a deceptive plan to stay afloat. Join One Green Planet’s #EatForThePlanet Movement and let’s get started today!

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