Teen to lead protest at Starbucks in Richland over vegan milk upcharge

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RICHLAND, Wash. — A teen plans on leading a protest at Starbucks in Gage Boulevard over the company charging extra for vegan milk.

A press release says 16-year-old Waylynn Dunn will lead a group of protesters in occupying the coffee shop on Saturday.

The protest—a part of PETA’s Week of Action, during which teens and other activists will occupy Starbucks locations across the U.S. and Canada—comes in the wake of the chain’s release of its new “sustainability commitment.”

Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson recently stated, “Alternative milks will be a big part of the solution,” and said that he’ll push consumers to choose milk made from almonds, coconuts, soy, or oats, whose production is friendlier to the environment than dairy. The protest also comes as Starbucks fails to address its continued practice of charging extra for vegan milk, even as an environmental assessment unveiled on Tuesday revealed that dairy-based items are the company’s “biggest source of carbon dioxide emissions.”

“Continuing to charge more for vegan milk while admitting that it’s the key to reducing Starbucks’ massive carbon footprint is irresponsible and unethical,” says PETA Director of Student Campaigns and Influence Rachelle Owen. “Young people are leading the charge in demanding that the company wake up and smell the coffee: It’s time for the unfair surcharge to end.”

According to the release, today’s dairy industry, cows are forcibly impregnated (raped via an inserted syringe) and calves are torn away from their loving mothers within a day of birth. According to the United Nations, animal agriculture is responsible for nearly a fifth of human-induced greenhouse-gas emissions and a global shift to vegan eating is necessary to combat the worst effects of climate change.

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