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Bought Milk? The Dairy Industry Might Owe You Money

Until late yesterday I had never heard of the Matthew Edwards v. National Milk Producers Federation case taking place in Northern California. After finding out what it is, and how many people it affects, I'm surprised this isn't everywhere.

The short version is that a group of several dairy companies were being sued for price fixing, and settled instead. If you bought milk (or another dairy product) in one of 15 states or D.C. sometime since 2003 then you can sign up to get part of the settlement at this website.

As someone who has gone vegetarian, and has done more and more research about farming practices, I was pretty angry when I found out that the National Milk Producers Federation, aka Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) has been accused of slaughtering dairy cows prematurely in order to limit milk production and artificially raise the price of dairy products. The fact that they settled for $52 million really doesn't help their "not guilty" claim. However, they are innocent until proven guilty, and settling before it can be proved either way.

Still, this lawsuit highlights the fact that there is an abundance of questionable farming practices in this nation. Practices that hurt both animals and people in the pursuit of profit. I'm not against companies making a profit, that is what they're for and in the pursuit of profit they provide all the material possessions we need and want. However, profit at any cost is a serious problem, especially when it comes to food.
Adding harmful chemicals that do who knows what to humans who ingest residue with their food, and harm the Earth. Keeping animals in horrid conditions. Slaughtering them in inhumane ways. Keeping so many animals that their poop becomes toxic waste full of antibiotics that poison our water. None of this is okay, yet everything I've listed in this paragraph legal.

Price fixing is illegal though, and I'm glad to see the farming industry have to pay something for a harmful practice, even if it is a settlement claiming innocence. However, in the little information I've been able to find about this on the internet, the CWT might have made as much as $9 billion because of their alleged activity. Really makes you wonder if a $52 million settlement is much of a deterrent.

If you would like to sign up for a piece of the settlement it's not difficult. Here's the link again. You can also find more information about the case on that website. Don't get too excited though, it's estimated individuals will get somewhere between $30 and $70 depending on how many people sign up. For less than 3 minutes, I'd still say it's worth it. The claim period ends on January 31st, 2017, and the money will be distributed afterwards.

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