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For Immediate Release:January 25, 2010
Contact:Amanda Fortino 757-622-7382
Chattanooga, Tenn. -- After learning that Memorial Health Care System adopted a new policy against hiring smokers in an effort to promote better health in the community, PETA has written to the hospital urging it to go one step further by refusing to hire meat-eaters too.
In the letter, PETA points out that the consumption of meat--as well as eggs and dairy products--has been conclusively linked to heart disease, diabetes, cancer, strokes, and obesity. The group also recommends that the hospital provide employees with vegan lunches in order to improve the health of Memorial's current employees. PETA has offered to help implement a vegan lunch program at the hospital.
"Employees who adopt a healthy vegetarian or vegan diet can potentially save their employers money and, more importantly, slash their risk of suffering through a heart attack or chemotherapy," says PETA's manager of vegan campaigns, Lindsay Rajt. "Discouraging smoking is a great idea, but if Memorial really wants to get serious about health, it'll urge its employees to ditch drumsticks as well as cancer sticks."
For more information, please visit PETA's blog.
PETA's letter to Memorial Health Care System follows.
January 25, 2010
James M. Hobson, FACHEPresident and CEOMemorial Health Care System
Dear Mr. Hobson:
On behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and our more than 2 million members and supporters, I'm writing regarding your announcement that Memorial Health Care System will no longer hire tobacco and nicotine users in accordance with your mission of "building healthier communities." While this move is understandable given tobacco's detrimental health effects, there is another important way to promote the health and well-being of employees: Only hire vegetarians.
Vegetarians (and in particular, vegans) are significantly healthier than meat-eaters. The American Dietetic Association (ADA) and the Dieticians of Canada conducted perhaps the largest review ever of all studies on vegetarian diets. They concluded that vegetarian diets "provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases." They also state, "Vegetarians have been reported to have lower body mass indices than nonvegetarians as well as lower rates of death from ischemic heart disease; vegetarians also show lower blood cholesterol levels; lower blood pressure; and lower rates of hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and prostate and colon cancer." Vegetarians get all the protein, vitamins, and fiber that they need without the artery-clogging cholesterol and saturated fat found in animal flesh, eggs, and milk.
To help staff members who currently eat meat transition to a healthy vegetarian diet, we recommend providing all employees with a delicious meat-, egg-, and dairy-free lunch every day. Once employees sample tasty meals like vegetarian shepherd's pie and Buffalo wing-style "chicken" nuggets (meat-free and made from plant protein)--and as they shed unwanted pounds and feel more energetic--they will realize how easy it is to eat healthy foods. This perk would cost a fraction of the money that Memorial will save as a result of lower health-care costs. We'd be happy to consult with you on food preparation or suggest local restaurants that could provide you with these meals, and we'll gladly provide each staff member with a free copy of our "Vegetarian Starter Kit."
By hiring only vegetarians and encouraging current staff to go meat-free, Memorial will send the Chattanooga community an important message about healthy eating while sparing your organization significant meat-related health-care costs and saving the lives of thousands of animals. Thank you for your consideration.
Tracy ReimanExecutive Vice President
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