PETA protests Starbucks’ extra fees for alternative milks


PETA members peacefully protested the alternative milk fee inside a Starbucks in Clarendon, one of many protests to come across the country

ARLINGTON, Va. (WDVM) — Less than 24 hours after Starbucks CEO and President Kevin Johnson announced the coffee chain would cut its waste, water use and carbon emissions in half by 2030, PETA was reminding the giant of an ingredient it left off the list.

“We make huge changes for animals from companies like Dunkin Donuts adding the vegan Beyond Sausage, to coffee chains adding vegan milks, and T.G.I. Fridays adding the Beyond Burger,” said PETA’s Assistant Manager of animals and entertainment Melanie Johnson. “PETA’s focusing on Starbucks for now given its environmental focus. For example, it offers a 10 cent discount if you use a reusable mug, yet it charges 60 to 80 cents more if you choose a more sustainable vegan option.”

That vegan option is alternative milks (like oat milk, soy milk, or almond milk). Some coffee chains won’t charge you more for this healthy, environmentally-friendly option, but Starbucks does. And true to PETA’s mission, it’s reminding Starbucks that alternative milks are a better choice for the cows, too.

“Farmed animals, including those on dairy farms, produce 1.65 billion tons of manure every single year and that manure often pollutes our waterways and even our drinking water,” Johnson said. “[Cows are] forcibly impregnated multiple times throughout their horrific and miserable lives and their babies are stolen from them just days after birth so that their milk, that’s intended for them, can be sold at Starbucks.”

On Wednesday, PETA members peacefully protested inside a Starbucks in Clarendon; one of dozens of protests the organization will participate in over the next week across the country and internationally.

Johnson says Starbucks hasn’t been responsive to their concerns. A regional manager on-site in Clarendon didn’t have a comment for WDVM, but the company’s media relations did, saying if a customer can handle just a “splash” of alternative milks, they’re exempt from the extra charge.

“We are proud to have a history of offering our customers products that meet their diverse needs and taste preferences, including a variety of alternative, non-dairy milks on our menu,” Starbucks said in a statement. “Adding a splash of any alternative milk to brewed coffee, iced coffee, cold brew and Americano beverages is offered free of charge.”

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