News Italian lawmaker proposes bill to penalise parents who raise children vegan

Indian Summer

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Parents who restrict their children to a vegan diet could face a jail term if a controversial bill is passed by the Italian parliament.

Such parents, the draft bill claims, are imposing a diet "devoid of essential elements for [children's] healthy and balanced growth".

It has been proposed by Elvira Savino of the centre-right Forza Italia party.
More: Italy proposal to jail vegans who impose diet on children - BBC News
 

shyvas

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The article states that there were 4 cases of malnourished children. Perhaps they would have been starved and malnourished regardless of began vegan or not.
Moreover, some people who start a vegan diet may not be fully informed of what makes a substantial diet for a growing child.
 

robert99

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Tvinga barn till vegandiet kan ge fängelse

Parents of Vegan Kids Could Face Prosecution Under Proposed Law
An Italian politician has proposed a new law that would mean the parents of vegan kids could face up to six years in jail.

Elvira Savino, deputy leader of the Forza Italia party, has suggested that parents who impose restricted diets on children under the age of 16 should be prosecuted for reckless endangerment and for compromising the development of their children.

Radicalised
Savino has described parents who impose restricted as “radicalised” and believes vegan kids do not get enough essential vitamins and minerals and are often malnourished. Veganism is a hotly debated topic in Italy, with 8% of the population either vegan or vegetarian.

Under the “Savino Law” parents would receive up to a one year sentence for the basic offence, two and a half years if a child is permanently affected or up to six years should a child die as a result of a vegan diet being imposed. However, as The Guardian reports, the Italian Society of Food Science has argued that high fat and sugar diets are of far more concern currently.

High Profile

The news follows a number of high profile cases in Italy involving vegan children, according to the The Telegraph. Only last month a boy of 14 months was admitted to hospital in Milan weighing as little as a three–month–old, while in June a two–year–old girl in Genoa was taken to a resuscitation unit with a severe vitamin B12 deficiency.

Turin to create Italy’s first ‘vegetarian city’
(Turin has recently promised to go veggie too :rolleyes: )
 
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Jamie in Chile

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I was wondering if someone would get around to posting this.

Why is Savino listing iron as the first in a list of three things a vegan diet is deficient in? Showing a lack of knowledge there. Would have made more sense to mention iodine and calcium alongside vitamin B12.

To be fair to Italy, this is just a proposal and I would wonder if it will either not become law, or it will be watered down. For example, they might say that any parent that can prove that they have consulted a nutritionist and/or provided vitamin B12 would be exempt from punishment.

In the cases of the kids that became severely ill or died, it looks like the diets were either not mainstream vegan diets, or just poorly planned, or lacking in nutrients. Although it's hard to say. But there needs to be an understanding that health is more determined by balance of fats/sugar, amount of exercise, smoking, than it is by whether a person is vegan or not. I don't see anyone proposing punishments for parents that let their children become obese and get dietary-induced diabetes.

It does highlight that promoting veganism to families with young children and pregnant women does need to be done carefully, with at the very least a mention of B12 and to tell someone to google sources of Vitamin A, calcium, iodine etc.
 

Indian Summer

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I don't know what the actual proposal says, but it would be strange for a law to single out one specific diet. What about freeganism? Flexitarianism? Fruitarianism? The so-called paleo diet? I suppose the law could say the diet must contain dairy products, but what about those with allergies / intolerances?
 

Amy SF

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Just out of curiosity, I did some googling and immediately found the Italian constitution in English. Here is a PDF:

https://www.senato.it/documenti/repository/istituzione/costituzione_inglese.pdf

It mentions more than once that individual rights and liberties are protected. Couldn't it be argued that a law preventing parents from feeding their children a specifically mentioned diet is unconstitutional because it singles out the followers of that specific diet for discrimination?

I know for a fact that in the US, the unconstitutionality of such a law would most certainly be considered a valid argument.
 

Andy_T

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The headline should more correctly read 'Populist party in Italy proposed to jail vegans..."

I am pretty sure that other parties in other countries think such a law would be a good idea, I am 100 % sure that the conservative party in Germany (who is, of course, representing dairy and meat farmers) would think this to be a very good idea (but one that will not bring them much sympathy with young voters, so I guess they don't go for it)
 

Andy_T

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It mentions more than once individual rights and liberties. Couldn't it be argued that a law preventing parents from feeding their children a specifically mentioned diet is unconstitutional?

Well, to answer that question ... Berlusconi (the party leader) is more or less the Italian Trump. Any more questions?

I know for a fact that in the US, the unconstitutionality of such a law would most certainly be considered a valid argument.

Not by all politicians ....
 

Andy_T

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robert99

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The legal side of this is surely the maltreatment of the children rather then the diet? If a child is endangered by bad parenting then it's the same reason for the State to get involved as if the child is beaten or not sent to school.
The seems no extra need for a anti-vegan law so this is just all pandering to the masses.

The European Milk Board (EMB) & the European Livestock and Meat Trades Union (known by its French acronym UECBV) will be pushing this in the news.
 
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Mikkel

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Suddenly we have a lot of Italian, vegan refugees all over...

Feeding your child too poorly shall be taken serious, but you can't single out just some groups. I hope that soon one day they will start to react on children wrongly fed in the other direction more too. But it's more acceptable that your kid is doubled size than being vegan...