‘Brew Change!’ Week of Action Targets Starbucks’ Vegan Milk Penalty

PETA, Local Advocates to Push New CEO to Drop Unfair Dairy-Free Surcharge

For Immediate Release:
April 12, 2023

David Perle 202-483-7382


Today, supporters of PETA and Switch4Good are kicking off a weeklong push for Starbucks to drop its “penalty charge” for dairy-free milk, culminating in a sit-in with Animal Rights Initiative at a local Starbucks store on Monday. Accompanied by a social media uproar and protests in 23 cities across North America, the week of action follows PETA’s recent shareholder resolution challenging the surcharge, which won so many votes that PETA can and will submit it for a new vote in 2024.

When:    Monday, April 17, 11:30 a.m.

Where:    Starbucks, 2200 N.W. Market St., Seattle

The animal advocacy groups point out that the surcharge penalizes customers who want to help prevent abusive dairy industry practices and slash greenhouse gas emissions. Charging extra for vegan options is also an unfair practice that perpetuates dietary racism, given that 80% of Black and Indigenous Americans and more than 90% of Asian Americans are lactose intolerant.

“Starbucks should encourage customers to choose environmentally responsible and animal-friendly vegan milks, not pimp them for extra profits,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “New CEO Laxman Narasimhan must take each of Starbucks’ social commitments seriously, whether it’s fighting racism or slowing the climate catastrophe.”

“Starbucks is lagging behind all the coffee chains that don’t charge customers extra for caring about their health or the health of the planet,” says Dotsie Bausch, Founder and Executive Director, Switch4Good. “With our Justice Cup campaign and other actions, we’ve been pressuring Starbucks to drop the nondairy surcharge for a couple of years. Now we’re proud to join hands with PETA to keep up the pressure because justice and compassion shouldn’t come with a price tag.”

In today’s dairy industry, cows are artificially inseminated (raped via an inserted syringe) and calves are torn away from their loving mothers within a day of birth. Male calves are often slaughtered for veal, and females are eventually sentenced to the same miserable fate as their mothers.

The groups will hold events today in Boston; New York City; Pittsburgh; Portland, Oregon; Toronto; and other cities. PETA and Switch4Good will take to the streets of Las Vegas and Little Rock, Arkansas, this weekend, followed by Chicago next week.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat or abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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