Parents who force a vegan diet on to their children may face prison in Italy

Discussion in 'Ethics, Morality, & Justice' started by Plazma Inferno!, Aug 10, 2016.

  1. Plazma Inferno! Ding Ding Ding Ding Administrator

    Parents who force a vegan diet on to their children would face prison under a new law proposed in Italy.
    Elvira Savino, of centre-right party Forza Italia, has proposed legislation under which parents who provide children aged 16 and under with a "diet lacking essential elements for an healthy growth" face up to two years of prison.
    The MP explains in the proposal that in the last few years the belief that vegetarian and vegan diets bring benefits "has been spreading in Italy" and adults are entitled to choose that type of diet.
    However, Ms Savino says, minors need to be protected from "radicalised" parents who want to impose on their children a restrictive diet that lack "essential elements needed for an healthy physical and cognitive development."
    Ms Savino writes that vegan diets leave children potentially lacking in iron, zinc and B12, which can lead to neurological problems and anaemia.
    The MP explains that the aim of the 'Savino Law' is to "definitely stigmatise negligent parental behaviours which put minors at risk."
    The proposal would see parents facing up to one year in prison for the basic offence.
    However, it could go up to two and a half years if the offence leads to a minor "getting permanently sick or hurt."
    If the minor were to die as a result of the basic offence, parent may face up to six years of reclusion.

    So, what do you think about this proposal?
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  3. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    I don't know; something like this would be the kind of law we might find useful to keep on the books for properly wrongful outcomes.

    Most vegans I know supplement their diets in some way to make up the difference. The others aren't actually proper vegans.

    I do, however, resulting from personal observation, object to inflicting moral veganism on children.

    Neither am I a fan of asceticism in general; perhaps, in the end, I am overly permissive. For the time being, I presume the limited range I'm encountering, owing to a limited range of reasons for subscribing to veganism that leads me to have a poor opinion of the practice in general, probably isn't wholly consistent with reality; it's best to not be too belligerent. Still, if your kid dies from a nutritional deficiency derived from enforced veganism, six years probably isn't enough, and how the hell did nobody else see it coming?

    The idea seems a mess, but, yeah, you get a few high-profile disasters like that and suddenly people want a solution.
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  5. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    No reason to single out vegan diets. Starving one's children is already illegal.

    I once knew a woman who had her Great Dane on a vegan diet - the humane society stepped in.
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  7. Bells Staff Member

    I find myself feeling somewhat dismayed by it and also agreeing with it.

    In short, I am in two minds about it.

    The issue I have with this type of law is that it is targeting vegans, while, by the looks of it at least, completely ignoring other bad dietary choices. For example, would they consider similar charges against parents who feed their child(ren) an unhealthy high fat and high sugar diet, resulting in the child being obese and at risk of diabetes and heart disease from a fairly young age?

    There is also the matter of how this would be policed and monitored?

    I would have assumed that if children were falling ill or exhibiting extreme dietary deficiencies that was affecting their health and wellbeing, that the State would intervene regardless.

    Was this proposal for this piece of legislation because of the case of the 18 month old boy who presented at a hospital terribly underweight and suffering a severe calcium deficiency (along with a congenital heart defect which had nothing to do with his diet) and it was discovered that he was fed a vegan diet by his vegan parents?

    When that case made the news, doctors advised that a strictly vegan diet in children should be supplemented with the necessary vitamins and supplements and that children who were vegans and who had access to such supplements and vitamins were quite healthy, as are vegetarians who raise their children as vegetarians.

    If this is in response to one case, it seems to be a bit of an over-reaction. Would laws be created to cater for parents of children who were obese and suffering from cholesterol and type 2 diabetes before the age of 16, for example?

    The case of the boy in Italy indicated that the child's diet was uncommon to begin with.

    The issue of how this would be policed also raises several questions. Does this mean that doctors would be required to report vegan families regardless? What if the children were healthy on a vegan diet?

    Instead of targeting child nutrition generally, and educating the population about a healthy diet, which is sorely needed in Italy, I find the pointing the finger at just vegans to be somewhat discomforting.
    Plazma Inferno! likes this.
  8. birch Valued Senior Member

    I can see why vegans would be more easily spotted than just a poor or unbalanced diet which is prejudicial. But at the same time, i can see the logic behind this overall as children need more protein, fats and calories as they are growing and developing. The idea of too much is better than too little possibly retarding growth and development, especially brain development which need fats.

    Still, in reality many parents do not feed their children properly either through neglect or ignorance which is just as damaging and a form of child abuse, intentional or not.

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