As veganism continues to disrupt the status quo, more and more opposition bubbles to the surface, especially when it comes to vegan children. There is often much soul searching among parents when it comes to bringing up their kids and one inevitable question will be, “Is it illegal to make your child vegan?”. Well, thankfully, we’re not quite there yet but some jurisdictions are leaning …
(Legal disclaimer: the obligatory declaration must be made that I’m no lawyer and nothing on this website should be taken as legal advice. You should do your own due diligence and consult a legal professional on any matters related to the law in your own country)
Is It Illegal To Make Your Child Vegan?No, it is not illegal to make your child vegan, despite what you may have read online. Sensationalist headlines abound but as of this writing, there are no countries in which you can be locked up for feeding your child a 100% plant based diet. Child neglect, on the other hand, is a very different matter.
Watch: Emily from BiteSizeVegan.com asks: “Is a vegan diet child abuse?”
( Emily rationally breaks it down, as always, cutting through the sensationalism )
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France & Italy Move a Little Closer
Browsing the internet highways and byways, you could be forgiven for thinking that there are some countries where raising your child vegan is illegal.
France, Belgium and Italy pop up regularly if you do even some cursory research on the subject. You’ll find headlines like “Veganism made illegal in France” and “Feed your children vegan and wind up in jail”.
Sounds a bit extreme but as always with the media we consume, the truth behind that big, bolded text is often a very different picture to what the headlines insinuate.
There is, of course, a grain of truth in the brash claims made upfront. Writers spend hours perfecting the headline for maximum ‘hook’ and they use every trick in the book to reel you in.
Take France for example. In a rational world could it really be that a socially progressive Western European country has made feeding your child a vegan diet illegal?
Well not exactly. Although, worryingly, they did pass a law in 2011 which made it mandatory for schools to serve a dairy product at every meal.
While this simply highlights a lack of nutritional knowledge among the vast majority of lawmaking institutions, presumably you could just explain the situation to your little darling in a rational manner and they can make up their own mind, leaving the cheese on the side if they choose.
As we can see this position is a long way away from the claim that veganism is illegal in France. But you’ll never police every single headline on the internet.
Belgium Rule To Jail Vegan Parents
There … you see how easy it is to spin the reality? I’ll wager when you read the table of contents at the top of the page your eyes were drawn to this heading.
Simple, to the point and with a grain of truth in there. But the devil is always in the detail …
So what is the grain of truth? I hear you ask.
In 2019 the Belgian Royal Academy of Medicine were asked by the children’s rights official, Bernard De Vos, to advise on the effects of a vegan diet on children.
The Academy’s considered opinion was that a vegan diet for kids is “unsuitable and not to be recommended”. One of the leading professors heading up the report, a Mr Georges Casimir of the Queen Fabiola Children’s Hospital claimed imposing a fully plant based diet on a child could be considered neglectful.
Now, I’ve got nothing against professor Georges and while he does work in a children’s hospital, he himself lists his expertise as centering around allergy and immunology. No mention of nutrition qualifications anywhere.
Yet he was tasked with providing guidance on this important and fundamental aspect of human health … ie: what we put in our bodies.
It’s no secret that the laws already exist which allow the prosecution of neglectful parents who are guilty of malnourishing their kids, vegan or otherwise. This advice simply officially adds neglectful vegan parents to the list.
What these established medical institutions fail to consider is the vast store of anecdotal and researched data which shows a well balanced vegan diet is suitable for all stages of growth, even inside the womb.
Yes, you need to be across some of the very basics of nutrition but you certainly don’t need to be a professor. In my opinion, a basic knowledge of human nutrition should be a requirement of being a parent. Even doctors in the UK barely study the subject in medical school!
The adjacent and previous images are just two screenshots (from endless contenders) showing appropriately considered plant based diets are not detrimental to the health of your child.
100% Plant Based Is Suitable For All Life Stages
I always like to back up my articles with reputable sources and decent research … some of the websites I’ve come across this time, quite frankly, beggar belief.
A prominent page which keeps coming up is from a site called “Protect The Harvest”, based in the US. Masquerading as a ‘news’ article the page vilifies vegans and our lifestyle. You can pretty much immediately conclude they’re as anti-vegan as they come.
With a headline that begins: “Parents Beware! …” they’re going for maximum scare tactics and depressingly enough, the page was near the top of Google when I was searching. So people looking for genuine info on this important subject see lies and propaganda first up.
To counter their despicable untruths here’s some real news for them direct from the National Health Service here in the UK:
“You can get the nutrients you need from eating a varied and balanced vegan diet including fortified foods and supplements.”
Yes, you need to be aware of B12, omega 3 and vitamin D … in fact as far as vitamin D goes, lots of people are deficient. Not just vegans.
Further, the US Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics states:
“Well-planned vegetarian and vegan diets are appropriate for all life stages”
But the anti-vegan brigade no doubt dismiss these irrefutable facts as fake news or some kind of ‘woke’ agenda … whatever that means.
The Key Is To Plan Your Kid’s Vegan Diet
This is where your basic knowledge of nutrition comes into play. Educate yourself on what the human body needs to not only survive, but thrive … and there’s no reason why you cannot thrive on a vegan diet.
As an aside, I know I keep referring to a ‘vegan diet’ and no doubt many vegans reading this are shouting at the screen proclaiming “Vegan is not a diet”. I completely agree! It’s an ethical stance and the diet plays a central role in that so I hope we can refer to a ‘vegan diet’ without too much analysis 🙂
I’d urge you to pick up a good book on nutrition. VeganStella on Twitter from the screenshot above, recommends an excellent book from Dr Michael Klaper called “Pregnancy, Children and the Vegan Diet” – available on Amazon of course.
Follow people like Dr Greger from NutritionFacts.org … some people label him a quack and a grifter but they’re usually one of these somewhat odd carnivore types. I find his content consistently accurate and more than plausible, always backed up by real science. He is a very well respected professional in the plant based world.
Once you have this basic knowledge you are empowered to feed your kids optimally. You can do things like prepare a 7 day vegan meal plan which nourishes your perfect progeny with all the goodies they need to excel at school, academically and physically.
It’s not rocket science.
Veganism Is Our Collective, Compassionate Future
I truly believe veganism is an evolution of the human species. I believe everyone will have to severely reduce their consumption of animal products if we are to avoid facilitating our own extinction.
Things are about to get very real in the next decade or so on the climate change front with governments utterly unable, it seems, to address the challenges we face.
Veganism not only addresses these challenges but also eliminates the untold suffering humans inflict on other animals we share our biosphere with.
I ask you to consider our collective future and to reject the selfish ways our capitalist systems promote. Profit is not real, it’s just something made up by financial wizards who find ever more elaborate ways to control the populace.
Anyway … that’s probably for another article!
I ask and even implore you to at least consider going vegan or, bare minimum, reducing your family’s intake of animal products.
Your kids will thank you for it 🙂
I hope this article has helped you to answer your question today and if it did, a social share is always hugely appreciated. Every little helps. If you have any thoughts you’d like to express please leave a comment below. I always respond …
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Thanks for reading and have a peaceful day.