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Two activists were arrested Wednesday after taping their hands to the counter of a Starbucks coffee shop in protest of an additional surcharge the company charges customers who order drinks with non-dairy milk.
Protesters from the group “People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals,” which included a Buddhist monk, were charged with trespassing after video captured a Chicago police officer and the store manager asking the two to take their hands off the counter and continue their protest outside.
Moments later, protesters removed their hands from the display with the help of what appeared to be an ice cube.
Earlier on Wednesday, PETA supporters exclaimed, “Save the planet! Save the cows! Stop the vegan surcharge now!” in front of the Starbucks store at the intersection of East Adams Street and South Michigan Avenue, according to a statement.
Video of the event showed two protesters, one wearing a T-shirt that reads “END THE VEGAN MILK CHARGE” and the other wearing a black and orange smock, each with a hand taped to the Starbucks counter.
“We’re here with PETA at this Chicago Starbucks to tell you to wake up and stop charging extra for plant-based, animal-based and organic milk options,” one protester tells the crowd.
“No one should be penalized for choosing sustainable options.”
Currently, Starbucks charges customers an additional 70 cents for plant-based milk in beverages and issued the following statement at the rally.
“We respect the rights of our customers to express their opinions as long as it does not disrupt our store operations. For non-dairy milks, customers can customize any beverage on the menu with soy milk, coconut milk, almond milk and oat milk for an additional cost, similar to other beverage customizations. The price varies market by market. Adding a splash of any type of non-dairy milk to Brewed Coffee, Iced Coffee, Cold Brew and Americano beverages is offered at no additional charge.”
A similar protest was held last May, when actor James Cromwell slapped his hand on the counter at Starbucks in New York City, also in protest of the non-dairy milk surcharge policy.