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Sunday, November 16, 2008

PETA Wants Higher Insurance Premiums For Meat Eaters

In a letter sent Monday to Bill Milnes Jr., president of Blue Cross Blue Shield Of Vermont, PETA's Executive Director Tracy Reiman urged Blue Cross to raise rates on meat eaters because -- she claims -- heart disease, diabetes and other leading killer diseases have been conclusively linked to the consumption of meat and other animal products.

"Given the latest news about the effects of E. coli on meat-eaters -- and the mountain of evidence linking meat consumption to some of our nation's deadliest diseases -- this change will benefit Blue Cross Blue Shield's bottom line while also helping to ensure that your policyholders don't flat line," Reiman wrote. Reiman went on to point to recent reports of an E. coli outbreak in Vermont. In October a Vermont slaughterhouse recalled a ton of ground beef after 10 cases of E. coli were traced to meat from Vermont Livestock Slaughter & Processing in Ferrisburg. The recall was voluntary.

Earlier in the month, three people were diagnosed with E. Coli in Orleans County. Health officials attributed those cases to raw milk as the source."As you might know, E. Coli grows in the intestines of many farmed animals. Slaughterhouses are filthy places, and when animals are eviscerated, feces often spray in every direction," Reiman wrote.

She goes on to claim that vegetarians are less prone to heart disease, certain types of cancer, diabetes and obesity. "By giving your policy holders a financial incentive to go vegetarian -- and penalizing those whose meat-based diets fuel our nation's worst health problems -- Blue Cross Blue Shield could save millions of dollars in the long run," Reiman writes.

But it doesn't appear that Blue Cross will be taking PETA's suggestion any time soon."Under Vermont law, we would not be allowed to vary rates based on the dietary and nutritional habits of various members," said Kevin Goddard, Blue Cross's vice president of external affairs. He did, however, say that Blue Cross is always looking to have the healthiest members possible, but "we have no information one way or the other if vegetarians are more healthy.

"In September, PETA made headlines in Vermont and across the nation for asking Ben & Jerry's ice cream to use human breast milk in their ice cream, instead of cow milk. "We applaud PETA's novel approach to bringing attention to an issue, but we believe a mother's milk is best used for her child," a representative for Ben & Jerry's said at the time.


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