Paul McCartney calls on Starbucks to stop charging for milk alternatives

 (Getty Images / iStock Photo)
(Getty Images / iStock Photo)

Sir Paul McCartney has issued an open letter to Starbucks chains across the United States, asking them to stop charging extra for plant based milk alternatives.

In an open letter penned with the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the former Beatles musician urged Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson to end the company’s vegan milk surcharge before he retires on 4 April 2022.

“My friends at PETA are campaigning for this,” McCartney wrote. “I sincerely hope that for the future of the planet and animal welfare you are able to implement this policy.”

Plant based milk options at Starbucks — such as oat milk, almond milk, coconut milk, and soy milk — currently come with a 70 per cent ($0.70) upcharge when added to drink orders. According to PETA, cow’s milk is Starbucks’ biggest contributor to its carbon footprint.

In January, Starbucks cafes throughout the UK eliminated its £0.40 ($0.54) extra charge on milk alternatives across its 1,020 stores. The coffee chain currently offers five non-dairy milks in the UK – oat, soy, almond, and coconut, and its own Nut Blend, which is made from hazelnuts and cashew nuts.

The 79-year-old legendary musician has been a long-standing advocate for animal rights and a vegetarian since the 1970s. In an interview with The Guardian, the Wings frontman described the epiphany he had while raising a variety of animals on his Scotland farm he shared with his late wife, Linda McCartney. “It was like, the penny dropped,” he recalled. “The light bulb lit up. We thought, we might just give this up.”

In 2009, McCartney and his family founded Meat Free Monday, a global campaign that encourages people to give up meat one day a week. The singer also narrated “Glass Walls”, a short documentary that exposes the treatment of farmed animals. For his 78th birthday, McCartney reflected on the 10-year anniversary of the short film. “All I’ve ever wanted for my birthday is peace on Earth — including for animals,” he wrote in a message shared by PETA.

Most recently, McCartney urged leaders at the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference to adopt the Plant Based Treaty, which addresses animal agriculture as an effect on climate change. “We believe in justice for animals, the environment and people,” McCartney said on behalf of himself and his daughters, Mary and Stella McCartney. “That’s why we support the Plant Based Treaty and urge individuals and governments to sign it.”