Sir Paul McCartney, who has been vegetarian since the ’70s, has called on Starbucks to drop its vegan milk surcharge.
The 79-year-old Beatles star teamed up with PETA – which claims to be the largest animal rights charity in the world – to pen a letter to Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson.
In the letter, McCartney asked Johnson to consider the “future of the planet” as well as the welfare of animals by removing the 70-cent upcharge on dairy-free milk.
“It recently came to my attention that Starbucks in the USA has an extra charge for plant-based milks as opposed to cow’s milk,” McCartney wrote to Johnson.
“I must say this surprised me as I understand that in other countries like UK and India, there is the same charge for both types of milk and I would like to politely request that you consider this policy also in Starbucks USA,” he added.
“My friends at PETA are campaigning for this to happen and I have agreed to support them …. I sincerely hope that for the future of the planet and animal welfare you are able to implement this policy.”
Starbucks’s controversial vegan upcharge
The dairy-free upcharge policy has come under fire in the past, with Starbucks being accused of profiting off dietary racism.
In December, a campaign saw non-profit Switch4Good masquerading as Starbucks, releasing fake statements from the coffee chain which promised to drop the surcharge.
In a spoof press release and video, Switch4Good (posing as Starbucks) recognized that the 70-cent surcharge predominantly affects Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities.
This is because of the high prevalence of lactose intolerance in these communities. According to Switch4Good, 95 percent of Asians, up to 80 percent of Black and Latinx people, and more than 80 percent of Indigenous Americans cannot digest dairy.
Dr. Milton Mills, an urgent care physician in Washington DC, said the “unfair and racially targeted” upcharge was a prime example of systemic racism.
Less than three weeks later, (the real) Starbucks announced it would stop charging extra for dairy alternatives at all of its 1,020 UK stores. The chain did not comment on whether the spoof campaign played a part in its decision.