An Even Better Idea for Ford

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3 min read

For no particular reason, I’m on my fourth consecutive Ford automobile (a Mustang convertible, natch). It’s a 2000 year model, though, and apparently I’m not the only one who hasn’t been buying lately: Ford just posted a record quarterly loss of $8.7 billion. Yikes!

Now, our relationship with Ford has had its ups (like when they stopped sponsoring UniverSoul Circus) and downs (such as when the company “won” our 2001 Litterbox Award for an ad boasting about how much leather they could cram into one car). But in the spirit of cooperation (see, we were paying attention during Sesame Street), we’ve contacted them with this great cost-cutting idea:

July 25, 2008William C. Ford, ChairFord Motor Company Dear Mr. Ford: On behalf of PETA and our more than 2 million members and supporters, may I suggest a way that Ford could dramatically cut costs by reducing employee absenteeism and lowering health care costs? We know that you are a vegetarian. If you encouraged your workers (both current and retired) to switch to a vegetarian diet—as some companies are already doing—and served vegetarian meals in company cafeterias, costs related to absenteeism and health care would drop significantly. According to estimates, the health problems of retired Ford workers alone add about $1,700 to the price of a new car. The American Dietetic Association (ADA) and the Dieticians of Canada conducted perhaps the largest review ever of 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 non-vegetarians 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.” As you know, vegetarians get all the protein, vitamins, and fiber that they need without the artery-clogging cholesterol and saturated fat found in animal flesh. William Castelli, M.D., director of the Framingham Heart Study—the longest-running clinical study in medical history—concluded that “vegetarians have the best diet. They have the lowest rates of coronary disease of any group in the country … they have a fraction of our heart attack rate, and they have only 40 percent of our cancer rate.” Vegetarians are truly “Built Ford Tough” and are far less likely to keel over from a heart attack on the assembly line or in the boardroom. To help employees transition to a healthy vegetarian diet, you might want to offer free meals initially, including familiar, comforting taste-alikes such as vegetarian Shepherd’s pie and Buffalo wing-style “chicken” nuggets. The short-term cost of these meals will be repaid in spades as workers feel more energetic and become healthier. We’d be happy to provide your cafeteria with a consulting chef, food-preparation tips, product-sourcing information, and recipes, and we’ll gladly provide each Ford worker with a free copy of our “Vegetarian Starter Kit.”I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you for your consideration. Sincerely, Bruce FriedrichVice President

Posted by Jeff Mackey

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