Veganism has met a formidable match in the form of a bill proposed by the Italian government to jail parents who force their children to eat vegan.
The BBC reports that the bill, currently in front of the Italian parliament, claims that parents who make their kids eat vegan impose a diet “devoid of essential elements for [children’s] healthy and balanced growth.” The bill is proposed by one Elvira Savino of the right-of-center Forza Italia party of which lovable scamp Silvio Berlusconi was a member.
The bill comes on the heels of some well-publicized cases in which children fed on a purely vegan diet were found to be extremely malnourished and as a result, were taken away from their parents. While Savino’s heart seems to be in the right place from the outset, some of the bills language is a little suspect:
“There is no objection if the person making this choice is an informed adult. The problem arises when children are involved... The vegetarian or vegan diet is, in fact, deficient in zinc, iron, vitamin D, vitamin B12 and omega-3".
Her draft bill aims to “stigmatise the reckless and dangerous eating behaviour imposed by parents” who pursue a vegan diet, “to the detriment of minors”.
The proposed punishment for parents who recklessly endanger their children’s lives by feeding them a lot of broccoli and blueberries feels a bit extreme: a minimum of one year and a maximum of four when the diet results in personal injury or suffering and up to six years if veganism imposed on a baby results in death.
Savino’s bill will make it to the chamber for debate later this year.