Some variation of this story pops up about once a year in the mainstream press. You may remember the baby that died thanks to his supposedly vegan parents that fed him cod liver oil (NOT VEGAN). Or the fruitarian parents who were spared jail after their baby died.
The thing is, if you look at this story, the fact that the parents were raising their children vegan has no bearing whatsoever on the story. The child didn’t die because he wasn’t eating meat, he died because he was (allegedly) fed only soy milk and apple juice. I’ve got news for you: if you feed your child only cow’s milk and apple juice, they’re going to die, too.
Veganism is not the issue here. It’s poor parenting.
But thanks to the obsession with making vegans look like crazy loons, readers will continue to take away the wrong message from the story. Instead of it being a terrible tragedy (allegedly) brought on by neglectful parents, it becomes a sweeping generalization about vegans. In fact, as I was writing this post, an e-mail came in with a link to the story, followed by this witty comment:
Save a cow …. Kill your baby!
Vegans are sick SOB’s
As regular readers surely know by now, it can be perfectly healthy to raise a child as a vegan. In fact, all of the vegan kids I’ve met have been healthy, vibrant, and well-adjusted. Yeah, parents need to do a little research to make sure their child’s nutritional needs are met, but that’s not limited to vegans. Every parent needs to read up on diet and nutrition.
Unfortunately, these unfair portraits of vegan (or supposedly vegan) parents are catchy news fodder for press and pundits. It’d be nice if the press would leave “vegan” out of the story (and here, the headline) if it doesn’t have any real bearing on the story itself, but that doesn’t generate the same kind of buzz.
(This is fair warning: I’m not going to let this degrade into a flurry of idiotic comments. If you’re commenting on the story, bring your A-game.)