If you want a latte with dairy-free milk from Starbucks in the US, it’s going to cost you more. But, hopefully, not for much longer. A growing group of activists and consumers believe the added surcharge is unfair, outdated, and supportive of a cruel industry. So they’re taking action. Eighty-two-year-old actor James Cromwell is among them.
Yesterday, Cromwell (known for his roles in Succession, Babe, and LA Confidential) glued himself to a Starbucks counter in protest of the vegan milk surcharge. During the protest, which was made in collaboration with PETA, he asked the coffee giant: “When will you stop raking in huge profits while customers, animals, and the environment suffer?”
Referring to Starbucks’ use of cow’s milk without an extra charge, Cromwell called out cruelty in the dairy industry. (Dairy farmers separate mother cows from their calves repeatedly.) Cromwell said: “These mothers must endure the loss of their child over and over again. They suffer no less than human mothers would.”
Cromwell gave up eating meat in the 1970s, and since then, has remained a passionate advocate for the animals. In 2017, he was arrested for trespassing after interrupting one of SeaWorld’s orca shows.
Campaigning for change at Starbucks
Cromwell is not the only celebrity to ask Starbucks to stop charging extra for dairy-free milk. Paul McCartney has also called for the coffee chain to make a change. In a letter to the CEO, he wrote: “My friends at PETA are campaigning for this. I sincerely hope that for the future of the planet and animal welfare you are able to implement this policy.”
Starbucks doesn’t charge extra for vegan milk everywhere. In the UK, it changed its policy on the surcharge earlier this year, scrapping the extra 40 pence fee for dairy-free options.
PETA offers a written template to send to Starbucks in the US, and so far, more than 135,000 people have sent an email to the chain via its website.
The template reads: “A massive chain such as Starbucks can afford to offer vegan milk without tacking on a surcharge.”
“I hope you’ll consider making this move to “earn points” and not only keep customers who already order dairy-free milk coming back but also encourage others to make healthier, more compassionate choices.”