Italy Might Jail Parents of Vegan Kids

Diet is 'reckless and dangerous,' says lawmaker
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 10, 2016 12:57 PM CDT
Italy Might Jail Parents of Vegan Kids
Savino says kids need vitamins not found in vegan dishes like this one.   (AP Photo/J.M. Hirsch)

(Newser) – To make pasta, you need eggs, which are obviously not vegan. That might be enough to explain a proposed law in Italy that would jail parents for up to six years for imposing "reckless and dangerous eating behavior," including veganism, on kids under 17. Jokes aside, the woman behind the proposed law, MP Elvira Savino of the center-right Forza Italia party, argues kids need iron, zinc, B12, and other vitamins that they can't get from a vegan or likewise "inadequate" diet. The proposal suggests parents be jailed for a year for a "basic offense," per the Guardian—though longer if the child is under 3—two to four years if a child becomes sick, and four to six years if a child dies as a result.

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Incidents involving malnutrition, at least, aren't entirely unheard of. There have been four cases of children following a vegan diet being hospitalized in Italy in the last 18 months, reports Newsweek. A 14-month-old who weighed about as much as a 3-month old even had to undergo emergency surgery. The UK-based Vegan Society describes that case as an "isolated incident," noting "vegan diets are suitable for any age and life-stage and include everything needed for optimal health." Savino counters that vegetarianism and veganism have been "spreading in Italy," and while "there can be no objection if the person making this choice is an informed adult … a problem arises when minors are involved." (Veganism is great for losing weight.)

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