Several major dairy producers in the U.S. are being forced to pay $52 million in a settlement for an antitrust class-action lawsuit which alleged that the producers slaughtered more than 500,000 dairy cows to reduce milk supply and inflate prices in order to pull in a greater profit.

Animal protection group Compassion over Killing launched the lawsuit against the dairy producers, saying that their actions took advantage of consumers while killing hundreds of thousands of cows far too early.

“This cow-killing program exploited both the animals and the consumers, and resulted in the early deaths of half a million cows.”

In the suit, evidence was gathered on the National Milk Producers Federation’s trade group Cooperatives Working Together cobbled together a scammy “herd retirement program,” which, contrary to its name, didn’t gather up cows too old to produce milk, but rather bought entire farm’s supply of cows, slaughtering them all.

CWT claims that their retirement program was not motivated by prices but rather gave farmers who wanted out of the business an option to do so. Even now in the settlement, the NMPH claims no wrongdoing and note that none of the defendants were found guilty.

Because it was a settlement over a class-action, anyone who bought milk in several U.S. states between 2003 and now are entitled to compensation. You can check and see if you were one of those affected here.

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Sydney Robinson is a political writer for the Ring of Fire Network. She has also appeared in political news videos for Ring of Fire. Sydney has a degree in English Literature from the University of West Florida, and has an active interest in politics, social justice, and environmental issues. She would love to hear from you on Twitter @SydneyMkay or via email at srobinson@ringoffireradio.com