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Italy May Make Veganism A Form Of Child Abuse

MIGUEL MENDEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

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Blake Neff Reporter
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Italian lawmakers are considering a bill that would potentially sentence parents to years in prison for forcing their children onto a vegan diet.

The bill, proposed by Elvira Savino of the conservative Forza Italia party, argues that forced veganism deprives children of “essential elements” needed for their “healthy and balanced growth.”

In a vegan diet, a person eats no food originating from animals. This includes not only meat, but eggs, dairy products, and honey.

A vegan diet can supply all the nutrients a child needs, but it does require special care to make sure certain nutrients don’t go missing. Italy has seen several cases in the last two years, including one last month, where children were hospitalized because of severe malnourishment stemming from a vegan diet.

Savino’s law would allow for a vegan diet (or any other diet that excludes critical nutrients) to be considered a form of child abuse, and would impose a prison sentence of up to four years if the diet causes a child permanent health problems. If a child dies, the penalty will go up to seven years.

“I have nothing against vegans or veganism as long as it is a free choice by adults,” Savino told Reuters in a Wednesday interview. “I just find it absurd that some parents are allowed to impose their will on children in an almost fanatical, religious way, often without proper scientific knowledge or medical consultation.”

Savino’s proposal is a long way from becoming law, though. It still has to go before a committee within the Chamber of Deputies before being heard on the main floor. Furthermore, the Chamber of Deputies is currently controlled by left-wing parties that are unlikely to be enthusiastic for Savino’s proposal.

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Tags : italy
Blake Neff