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The Royal Academy of Medicine of Belgium published a legal opinion arguing that veganism is ‘unsuitable for unborn children, children, teenagers, and pregnant and lactating women’.
‘Not ethical to impose on children’
One of the professors behind the report, Georges Casimir, says vegan parenting now qualifies as ‘non-assistance to a person in danger’ – a criminal offense that carries a prison sentence of up to two years.
Casimir claims children need ‘higher requirements for protein and essential fatty acids’ but that the body ‘does not produce them’ naturally – arguing the nutrients must be ‘brought in via animal products’.
He added: “This concept of nutrition is similar to a form of treatment that it is not ethical to impose on children.”
However, the American Dietetic Association states: “Appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.
“Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes.”
The news caused controversy amongst animal-rights organization PETA who, according to the Telegraph, said: “What a load of ignorant codswallop! NHS nutritionists confirm that while a meat- and dairy-based diet is what strikes people down in adulthood – as it can lead to hardened arteries that cause stroke, brain aneurysms, and heart attacks – a well-planned vegan diet is perfect for babies and children.
“Kids, including my own, thrive on a balanced vegan diet, but as with any dietary regime, it’s the parent’s responsibility to ensure their child is getting all the necessary nutrients.”