SOURCE ET SUITE
Well, what do you know? The dairy industry managed to find one more way to be awful.
Every heartless initiative needs a euphemistically benign name, right? Big Dairy called this one the “Dairy Herd Retirement Program.” What it really amounted to was $9.5 billion dollars in alleged industry-wide price fixing — and the unnecessary, premature slaughter of half a million cows. Yes, half a million.
Here’s what happened. Several major dairy producing cooperatives — including the National Milk Producers Federation (a.k.a Cooperatives Working Together or CWT), Dairy Farmers of America, Inc., Land O’Lakes, Inc., Dairylea Cooperative Inc., and Agri-Mark, Inc. — needed to find a way to stop the downward spiral of milk prices.
CWT member groups alone produce more than 70 percent of the dairy sold in the United States. Together, these cooperatives were producing too much raw milk, resulting in a glut.
To ensure less milk reached the market, between 2003 and 2010, these groups allegedly bought out entire herds of cows from smaller, struggling dairy farmers who wanted to leave the business. Those cows were killed. In the end, there were ten rounds of “herd retirement” during those years. Each round killed many thousands of healthy young dairy cows, just to keep them from producing milk..
So, let’s review. The dairy industry is horrible in just about every way they can be. They:
- Repeatedly impregnate female cows on factory farms to keep their milk endlessly flowing
- Forcibly remove the resulting calves from their mothers almost immediately after birth
- Send the male calves off to live short, sad lives tied up in tiny hutches, after which they die to become veal
- Raise many of the female calves to become the new generation of overworked, badly treated dairy cows
- Send off the “spent cows” who’ve lived their lives as perpetual milk machines to become low grade hamburger
- Cause innumerable and worsening environmental problems because of the sheer number of cows and feed for the cows that’s needed to meet dairy demand
- Allegedly kill off 500,000 dairy cows to create a false milk shortage that drives