Italian media reports backlash over plans to punish vegan parents

A proposed law to punish parents for raising children on vegan diets has provoked outrage from the vegan community around the world, according to Italian news site The Local.it.

According to the article: “The law was proposed last week by Elvira Savino, a member of Berlusconi’s centre-right Forza Italia party, and received worldwide media attention as she called for ‘reckless’ vegan parents to be punished with jail time for raising their children on restrictive diets.

“She commented on the spread of plant-based diets in the last decade, adding that some people follow the diet simply because it has become ‘fashionable’, and that children raised as vegans without proper medical care suffer from their parents’ ‘ideological excesses’.”

But now the International Vegan Rights Alliance, Ivra, has written an open letter to Savino, calling her proposal “unfair, extremely misguided and discriminatory” and urging the politician to amend the wording of her bill. The letter says there is a ‘legal precedent for veganism to be considered a way of life under the European Commisssion of Human Rights’, and is therefore protected by human rights principles.

Walter Caporale, president of the Animalisti Italiani organization, added: “The vegan diet is completely sustainable, even for children, when accompanied by the correct information on the products to consume and checks carried out by a doctor.”

The Local.it went on to report: “Andrea Ghiselli, president of the Italian Society of Food Science, told La Repubblica that while there was no proof a vegan diet was healthier than an omnivorous one, there was also no evidence to show that a vegan diet poses a serious health risk.

“The western diet as it is today exposes us to much greater risks than a vegan diet,” said Ghiselli, adding that excesses of sugar, fat and meat products in modern diets can lead to health problems.”

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