The animal rights group has been urging Starbucks to drop the surcharge for plant-based milks since last July.
As part of PETA’s Week of Action, vegan activists gathered inside Starbucks coffee shops across the US and Canada to protest against the coffee chain’s unfair “vegan tax” on people who don’t drink dairy for ethical, environmental, or health reasons.
Similar protests have been held in Arlington, Virginia; San Diego, California; Portland, Oregon; and New York City, New York.
Starbucks has been offering dairy-free soy since 1997. Later, it added almond and coconut milks to its menu. Recently, the international coffee chain started offering Oatly oat milk at 1,300 locations in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, and Wisconsin.
While many other coffee chains including Pret A Manger, Tim Hortons, Stumptown Coffee Roasters, Noah’s New York Bagels, Philz Coffee, and Costa Coffee have dropped the vegan milk fee, Starbucks continues to charge extra for the alt-dairy varieties citing lesser orders, no subsidies and the need to make special formulations to enhance the beverage as reasons to justify the surplus charge.
Denouncing the reasons, protestors state the coffee chain is being discriminatory and not following through on its promise to be a sustainable business.
“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 it punishes people who are lactose intolerant (most of whom are people of color) as well as anyone who chooses vegan milk in order to reduce methane-gas emissions,” said PETA.
“PETA is upping the pressure on Starbucks to wake up and smell the coffee: It’s time for the unfair surcharge to end.”
WILX quoted Curtis Vollmar, an Animal liberation activist, who said: “It’s just so insane that Starbucks is charging people for making an ethical and environmentally friendly decision.”
“When you take into account the plants that the cow needed, the water that the cow needed, it takes thousands of gallons of water to produce one gallon of milk and we’re charging more for the plant-based milk which requires fewer resources? That’s absolutely insane,” he added.
Is Starbucks justified in charging a vegan tax? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
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