Starbucks: Take a Stand Against Cow Abuse on Dairy Farms

Target: Kevin Johnson, CEO of Starbucks Coffee Company

Goal: Stop charging more for cruelty-free milk alternatives at Starbucks.

Not only is Starbucks the lead distributor of coffee in the United States, it is also the largest coffeehouse chain in the world. While the company claims to be committed to the ethical sourcing of its products and upholding animal welfare standards, they do not seem to fully honor this commitment. Though they do offer many alternative options to milk– including oat milk, coconut milk, almond milk, and soy milk–most Starbucks locations charge at least 70 cents more for these options than they do dairy milk. As a result, cow’s milk is the standard option for most, and is used to make all coffees unless otherwise specified by the customer.

Cows produce milk for the same reasons that humans do– to feed and nourish their young. However, unlike with humans, cows on dairy farms do not get the opportunity to feed their babies, as their calves are taken from them shortly after they are born. Instead, calves are fed milk replacer, while the milk initially produced for them is reserved for humans to be put into our morning coffees. To maximize milk production, dairy cows are artificially impregnated with metal rods on an ongoing basis. These cows often spend their lives in sheds feeding from crowded feedlots, and many dairy cows are kept without any access to pastures at all. After five years of this vicious cycle– about when a cow’s milk production slows down– she is shipped off to a slaughterhouse, destined to be made into a hamburger or leather purse.

In addition to its apparent contribution to an international animal welfare crisis, Starbucks’ seeming endorsement of dairy milk poses serious environmental concerns. Cows on dairy and factory farms are major sources of pollution, and the emission of methane during food digestion processes has a notable effect on climate change patterns. Starbucks themselves have even admitted that cow milk from dairy farms constitutes the biggest part of their carbon footprint. 

The ramifications of upcharging non-dairy milks for animal welfare and environmental health are vast, and we must do better to reduce our contribution to the suffering of cows and to our world’s changing climate. Sign this petition to urge Starbucks to stop upcharging these alternative milks and to, instead, encourage our nation’s movement away from dairy milk. 

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Johnson, 

Cows on corporate dairy farms everywhere are forced to endure endless amounts of suffering. These cows live among their own filth, deprived of their natural appetites to graze and roam freely. Most dairy cows will never see a field in their lives. Worst of all, dairy cows face constant physical abuse and are artificially impregnated year after year until eventually being sent off to slaughter. Calves are taken away from their mothers within 24 hours of being born, and the milk intended for them gets harvested and shipped off to supplement our cups of coffee.

These inhumane practices not only cause concern for the welfare of cows on an international level, but also pose severe risks for our environment. The large-scale cultivation of cows facilitates pollution by means of animal waste. The methane expelled from the millions of cows on dairy farms gets trapped in our atmosphere, contributing to changes in global climate, as well as contamination of our air and water.  

As a big company with much influence and a large clientele, any action you can take would have major implications.By upcharging only non-dairy milks, you are seemingly coercing the public into choosing an inhumane, unsustainable option to which countless alternatives already are available. We are asking you, Mr. Johnson, to please consider the cows and to stop apparently encouraging the use of dairy milk at your company.

Sincerely,

[Your Name here]

Photo Credit: Gabriela Penela


2 Comments

  1. Evan Jane Kriss says:

    Shame on Starbucks for charging more to customers who make the ethical choice to request plant based milks!

  2. Useless signing this against “Starbucks” when BlackRock is their largest *shareholder*. This investment firm owns nearly everything in the world now. Address your petition to that monolith instead.

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