On Monday, a law firm in California filed a class-action lawsuit alleging that there was an industry-wide scheme to raise the price of milk by killing cows.

According to a press release from the Hagens Berman law firm, the lawsuit is being filed on behalf of several dairy consumers including Compassion Over Killing members, a known animal-rights organization that promotes a meat, egg and dairy-free diet.

The lawsuit alleges that between 2003 and 2010, more than 500,000 cows were slaughtered under the Cooperatives Working Together's dairy herd retirement program in a concerted effort to reduce the supply of milk and inflate its price nationally. According to the complaint, the increased price allowed CWT members to earn more than $9 billion in additional revenue.

Jim Tillison, chief operating officer of Cooperatives Working Together, told Dairy Herd Management Tuesday,Cooperatives Working Together was created in 2003 as a self-help initiative to assist family dairy farmers and members of dairy cooperatives who were losing money producing milk. The program was designed and has always been operated in a manner fully consistent with the anti-trust laws of the United States. The lawsuit filed yesterday in California at the instigation of a west coast animal-rights group is without merit. National Milk Producers will vigorously defend its actions and those of its member cooperatives and their producers in this lawsuit and expect that those actions will ultimately be vindicated.”

For more information, go to: http://www.hbsslaw.com/CWT