Italian Lawmaker: Parents Raising Vegan Kids Should Be Jailed

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Parents raising their children on a vegan diet in Italy could possibly face up to four years in jail if a proposed law passes in Parliament later this year.

Elvira Savino from the conservative Forza Italia party proposed the law in order to hold parents legally responsible for feeding their children a “diet devoid of elements essential for healthy and balanced growth,” according to its text.

“I have nothing against vegans or veganism as long as it is a free choice by adults,” Savino told Reuters, “I just find it absurd that some parents are allowed to impose their will on children in an almost fanatical, religious way, often without proper scientific knowledge or medical consultation.”

The bill comes after several children on vegan diets have been hospitalized in the country for malnutrition. In one case, a vegan one-year-old was forced to undergo an emergency operation last month after his low calcium levels aggravated an existing congenital heart condition. The child weighed only slightly more than a 3-month-old baby.

The Italian parliamentarian explained, “If even only one child ends up in a hospital because of this behavior, I feel we have to protect them all.”

Vegan diets have grown in popularity as more and more people choose to eliminate meats, eggs, dairy, and other animal byproducts from their diets for health, environmental, and/or ethical reasons. In fact, veganism isn’t all that different from other current food fads, which follow similar philosophies of cutting out unnatural and unhealthy ingredients from one’s diet. As a result, growing numbers of food manufacturers and restaurants have begun focusing more on what’s not in their food, rather than what’s it it, as more and more parents actively seek out gluten-free, dairy-free, meat-free, and fat-free options.

However, there is debate among nutritionists and pediatricians on whether or not vegan diets pose a negative impact on children’s development. While many believe vegan diets can cause stunted growth and vitamin deficiencies in children, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) both agree that “well-planned vegetarian and vegan eating patterns are healthy for infants and toddlers.”

If the law passes, jail sentences could include: one year for raising a child on a vegan diet, up to four years if the child develops a permanent health problem, and up to seven years if the child dies as a result.

Alexis Evans
Alexis Evans is an Assistant Editor at Law Street and a Buckeye State native. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and a minor in Business from Ohio University. Contact Alexis at



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