Italy — Though millions of parents around the world don’t believe in feeding their children animal products from factory farms, which are fed genetically modified corn and soy, and are often full of antibiotics and artificial hormones, an Italian member of Parliament has penned a law that would jail parents for feeding their children a vegan diet.
Some would say that eating meat is almost barbaric given the degradation of our rainforests, the abhorrent ways animals are often treated when raised in factory-style agricultural farms, and even the recent insights by mainstream scientists that animals might be smarter than we think.
Despite these facts, Elvira Savino of the conservative Forza party believes that parents who feed their children a plant-based diet should be imprisoned.
Savino’s draft bill argues that a vegan diet is “devoid of essential elements for [children’s] healthy and balanced growth.”
While it does take mindful parents to make sure that a child eating a vegan diet consumes all the proper nutrients, Savino’s law — which would jail a parent for up to four years if a child develops a medical problem that could be linked to eating a vegan diet — certainly ignores the plethora of health issues children face around the year they regularly eat meat, highly processed foods, and genetically modified organisms.
Aside from providing children with an alternative source of B12, which is usually only achieved from eating animals, most parents feeding their children a vegan or vegetarian diet are faring better than about 80 percent of the population. When you consider the sheer amount of refined sugar, processed carbohydrates, artificial colors, fake dyes, endocrine-altering hormones, pesticides used on GM crops, and more than a hundred different additives in the average American diet — before even accounting for the questionable consumption of meat — Savino’s bill seems ill-informed.
To wit, Harvard’s School of Public Health suggests that cutting red meat alone can help us live longer and cut the incidence of certain types of cancer. The school has gone as far as to call ‘healthy’ meat consumption an oxymoron. Yet, children whose parents want to protect them from this fate should be jailed?
Savino compares parents’ desire to feed their children healthy, non-violent food to a religious fanatics’ beliefs, telling Reuters:
“I have nothing against vegans or veganism as long as it is a free choice by adults, 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 also seems discomforted by parents’ taking charge of their children’s health, saying that, “Do-it-yourself on these matters terrorizes me.”
More likely, it’s possible Savino sees parents’ awakened decision to feed their children in a healthy way as a huge impediment to a multi-trillion-dollar industry.
According to Agfundernews:
“Meat production is the largest segment of US agriculture. It has the retail equivalent value of $85 billion. One-third of the world’s 14 billion hectares of cultivated land is used to grow one billion tons of feed. Even more astounding, 70 percent of all ag land is dedicated to raising livestock.”
With organic fruits and vegetables in more demand than ever, there seems to be a bidding war over arable land upon which food can be grown. In many markets, the demand for organics is outreaching supply.
Savino’s stab at parents could be a thinly-veiled attempt at scapegoating people who care for their children’s well-being immensely, rather than looking at the real costs of continuing a meat addiction around the globe.
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