Video: 13-Year-Old Boy Roughed Up by Police, Wrongfully Arrested at PETA Protest of Starbucks

For Immediate Release:
March 8, 2024

David Perle 202-483-7382

Winter Garden, Fla.

Earlier today, a 13-year-old PETA supporter named Evan was arrested for peacefully protesting Starbucks for charging extra for the vegan milks that it agrees are better for the planet. Evan and his family were joining other PETA members in a sit-in at the Starbucks at New Independence and Hamlin when police asked them to leave—and dramatic video shows that Evan was complying by gathering up “Starbucks: Stop Vegan Upcharge” signs when officers grabbed him, shoved him face-down onto a table, and handcuffed him while his pregnant mother, Shannon Blair, pleaded, “Don’t touch my child! What are you doing to my child?”

Credit: PETA

Evan is still in police custody. His stepfather was also arrested and is being held at an adult facility. Blair is trying to secure her son’s release.

“Watching as my son was torn away from me, restrained, and hauled away gave me a glimpse into the horrors of the dairy industry, which takes calves from their crying mothers so that it can sell off their milk,” says Blair. “My family was simply asking Starbucks to stop penalizing customers for choosing a kinder option. There was no reason for violence.”

Cows used for dairy are repeatedly artificially inseminated—workers insert an arm into the animals’ rectum and a metal rod to deliver semen into their vagina—and then sent to slaughter when their bodies give out. Despite publicly admitting that dairy is the biggest contributor to its carbon footprint and acknowledging the positive impact that dairy-free milk options have in furthering its environmental goals, Starbucks continues to charge as much as 90 cents more for them, lagging far behind its many competitors that offer vegan milk at no additional charge. Charging extra for vegan options also perpetuates dietary racism, given that 80% of Black and Indigenous Americans and more than 90% of Asian Americans are lactose intolerant.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—points out that Every Animal Is Someone and offers free Empathy Kits for people who need a lesson in kindness. For more information, please visit or follow the group on X, Facebook, or Instagram.

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