Why PETA Protesters Claim 'Starbucks Doesn't Give A Frap'

Credit must be given for a catchy tagline, and PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) may have nailed the wordplay in declaring, "Starbucks Doesn't Give a Frap." A Starbucks barista on Reddit certainly got a kick out of it when PETA protesters set up shop outside their location. "They're handing out vegan coffee and yelling at people, the lady has a sign that says 'STARBUCKS DOESNT GIVE A FRAP' which is quite frankly the funniest thing in the world," said user woofkoo. In a separate Reddit thread, user oscarjoserodrigo posted about receiving a flyer with the same tagline. 

At issue, is PETA's comment on Starbucks having an upcharge for non-dairy milk options. A flyer photographed by oscarjoserodrigo reads in part, "Starbucks charges up to 80 cents extra for lattes and other blended beverages made with oat, soy, coconut or almond milk even though Starbucks in the U.K., Germany, and other countries don't have this surcharge." It further alleges that the upcharge "hurts cows, the planet" and lactose-intolerant consumers. 

On its website, PETA puts forward an extensive objection to cow's milk and other dairy products based on a multitude of complaints. They include "environmental destruction" by the dairy industry, pain and suffering of dairy cows, health concerns about humans consuming milk and dairy products, and what PETA describes as "myths" about the benefits of drinking cow's milk to meet nutritional needs. 

PETA's Starbucks protest gets mixed reviews

The PETA website applauds Starbucks' efforts to provide non-dairy drink options but insists they don't go far enough, stating, "While it's great that Starbucks has expanded its vegan milk options, customers shouldn't have to pay extra when they make a choice that's better for animals, the environment, and their health." The brand notes that many other coffee vendors will swap in plant milk at no additional charge, a point that got repeated on PETA's protest flyer.

Overall, Starbucks workers and other commenters on Reddit seemed unimpressed. As one Redditor explains, "I'm not vegan, but I don't drink dairy either. I would personally LOVE to see Starbucks get rid of the upcharge for non-dairy options, but I understand that they charge more because it just costs more, not because they're somehow trying to discriminate against those of us who don't drink dairy." Says another commenter, "If these people really want to make a meaningful difference they should stop harassing the lowest-paid employees who have no say in how their company is run, and instead focus on getting lawmakers to subsidize non-dairy milk production, and channel less funding towards dairy."

As The New York Times shares, plant milk options are often more expensive than the average gallon of dairy, which may be the simple basis of Starbucks' cost policy although only the company really knows. But at least PETA's catchy tagline definitely grabbed some attention.