Ruby Roth has written a book for children, Vegan Is Love, which was featured on Today this morning. Inside, there are illustrations of animals hugging. There are also drawings of dead animals strung up and bleeding. Roth says, "My goal is not to scare any child." Roth has a stepdaughter, Akira, who declares: "My favorite food is kale." Probably because she can't eat McNuggets?
Obviously vegan parents are the target audience for this book, and they most likely wouldn't have a problem with the illustrations or the language inside. But, as Matt Lauer mentioned later in the segment, when you send the message "vegan is love," do you also send the message that "eating meat is hate"? And how does that affect a child's budding relationships? Surely no one could argue that you shouldn't educate a kid and teach compassion, even when it comes to food choices. But what about tolerance and acceptance of the choices of others? Even if your moral compass is very tightly wound, and you believe that meat is murder, should you let a kid decide for herself? Is little Akira existing in a world where she believes her teacher and classmates are cruel killers? And: While it's true that healthy eating habits should be taught early on, could this book trigger a constant worry about food choices, and lead to disordered eating? So many questions. Meanwhile, I think of this guy I knew who grew up vegetarian on an Ashram in Vermont. Now that he's older, he loves bacon.