We’ve heard of all sorts of misconceptions regarding vegetarian and vegan diets – but never one that would actually cause a family to lose out on adopting a child.
Apparently, a vegetarian couple on the Greek island of Crete were denied such an action because social welfare had doubts about their plant-based diet.
“We asked the University of Crete medical school on the issue and they said the child’s diet must include meat, fish, etc,” the head of the city’s welfare services, Spyros Epitropakis, said on Thursday.
“We do not discriminate but we were obliged to check this out. The issue is now in the hands of the judicial authorities,” he told AFP.
The parents are currently seeking to overturn the ruling. As for the University expert who issued the recommendation, he said that denying the application purely on the basis of a vegetarian diet is “unreasonable”.
“A child needs to eat fish, seafood and dairy products among other things, without meat being essential. But if the family has no intention of imposing its diet habits on the child, I don’t see where the problem is,” he said.
I’m sure plenty of vegetarian/vegan parents will take issue with the above – especially the recommendation a child must eat seafood and dairy to thrive.
“The real issue isn’t whether a child’s diet is vegan or not, or restricted or not – the important thing is whether it’s healthy. There are plenty of children who are eating a bad diet, and they’re not vegan,” she says. “Vegan parents have to plan their child’s food carefully. Of course there are pitfalls, but there are pitfalls for all parents and for any diet.
“The reality is that vegan parents are more likely to cook at home, and are likely to be very knowledgeable about nutrition because they have had to make a lot of effort to follow the diet they do. Many of them follow a wholefood diet, and avoid trans-fats and too much salt. It’s actually much easier for vegans and their children to meet the five-a-day guidelines than for other people.”
I expect this decision will be overturned fairly quickly.