Protests Erupt Over Starbucks’ Vegan Milk Surcharge

Animal Rights Advocates, Lactose-Intolerant Coffee Drinkers, and Environmentalists Want the Company to Stop Charging Extra for Dairy-Free Options

For Immediate Release:
July 17, 2019

Brooke Rossi 202-483-7382

Seattle – On Thursday, a klatch of energetic PETA supporters will descend on the Starbucks headquarters in Seattle to percolate the message that the chain needs to dump its surcharge for dairy-free milk. Protesters will hold signs proclaiming, “Soymilk Surcharge Sux,” “Vegan Surcharge: Udder Nonsense,” and “Surcharge Unfair for People of Color.” They’ll point out that the surcharge is unfair to customers who oppose animal abuse, such as the separation of mother cows from their calves in the dairy industry, and that it punishes people who are lactose intolerant––most of whom are people of color––along with anyone who chooses vegan milk in order to reduce methane-gas emissions.

When:    Thursday, July 18, 12 noon

Where:    Starbucks headquarters, 2401 Utah Ave. S. (at the intersection with S. Lander Street), Seattle

“The filthy, cruel conditions under which cow’s milk is obtained are enough to leave a sour taste in anyone’s mouth,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “Add to that how wretched dairy farming is for the environment and how unfair it is to charge people who are lactose intolerant extra, and it’s clear that Starbucks should ditch the surcharge.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—notes that 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. Mother cows have been known to wail for their calves for days after separation. Male calves are often slaughtered for veal, and females are sentenced to the same miserable fate as their mothers.

PETA opposes speciesism, which is the supremacist view that other species are nothing more than commodities for humans to use as we please. For more information, please visit

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind