Italy declares war on vegans!
Well, not really. The issue is a bit more complex than that.
As reported by the BBC and other news outlets, a controversial bill has been introduced to the Italian parliament recently. Sponsored by Elvira Savino of the center-right Forza Italia party, the bill proposes jail sentences for vegan parents who “impose” their lifestyle on their children. The bill states that vegan diets rob children of “essential elements for healthy and balanced growth.”
The bill was crafted following several cases over the past year and a half where malnourished children were removed from vegan households. Experts suspect that in these cases, the parental authority figure simply did not understand how to supplement a vegan diet regime, thereby making it safe for kids. The esteemed American Dietetic Association says that children can and do flourish under vegan diets, but that it is absolutely vital that children be given plenty of vitamins, including B12, which is instrumental in brain growth and red blood cell development.
Those who adhere to a strict vegan diet shun all food products derived from animals, including meat, dairy, honey, and eggs. In the preamble to the bill, Savino states that while adults are perfectly free to eat as they wish, children, on the other hand, should not be raised vegan, as the vegan diet is “deficient in zinc, iron, vitamin D, vitamin B12 and omega-3.”
Under the bill, offenders will face up to a year in jail, four if the child suffers permanent injury or illness, and six if they die. While some champion the bill’s objective, others feel that it sets a dangerous precedent, and may one day be applied to other families, such as though with obese children.