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The Media Loves Blaming Child Abuse On Veganism

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This week, thirty-three year old Elizabeth Hawk was accused of starving her 11-month-old son in Fayette County, Pennsylvania. As always, veganism is portrayed as the cause of malnourishment or in this case, the “vegan lifestyle diet” that Hawk apparently feeds her 3 children. As of Tuesday, her son was covered in a full body rash, had no teeth, and was described as “developmentally delayed.”

So why is veganism taking the rap? That’s easy – the media never misses an opportunity to spew anti-vegan propaganda for its corporate masters.

Hawk didn’t feed her baby boy a “vegan diet.” She fed him nuts and berries. That’s not a vegan diet – it’s a recipe for malnourishment. This, however, didn’t stop the mainstream media and AJC reporter, Cara Sapida, attributing this boys atrocious health to the “vegan diet” he was fed by Hawk. Once again, a terrible story of child abuse is hijacked for the purpose of vegan hate-mongering.

If you fed an 11-month-old nothing but cheese and crackers, the baby would be malnourished. If you fed an 11-month-old nothing but animal flesh, the baby would be malnourished. It would be ludicrous, however, to say that either of those cases represented any sort of “diet.” It’s not a diet, it’s child abuse, plain and simple. The media fails to acknowledge this when the abuser happens to be a vegan. They instead use the opportunity to attack veganism by making broad-brush statements and maintaining that the cause of malnourishment was veganism itself. But that’s as nonsensical as asserting that some fruits and berries are poisonous so therefore every fruit and berry on the planet is poisonous too. Or that some people have died from lack of water and so therefore drinking water is bad. Where veganism is concerned, people buy this sort of nonsense because they love to think that there are legitimate reasons to dismiss the things that challenge the way they live.

Hawk was taken to Fayette County Jail after the judge ruled that her actions were criminal, and rightly so. The only criminal thing concerning veganism, however, is how the media doesn’t miss an opportunity to spread lies and misinformation for the benefit of the corporate animal entities and governments that control it.

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  • Of course you’re right – veganism was not the cause of this child being malnourished.

    However, I do believe this particular type of vegan “diet” (“diet” being the operative word!), is a threat to ethical veganism.

    I realize this is very unpopular to mention in the vegan community, but I do think that restrictive vegan “diets” are a threat to ethical veganism. Most people engaging in these diets do not do so out of ethical convictions, but from the belief that eating a “pure” “natural” “raw” diet will let them live forever.

    Ethics has hardly anything to do with it. I hate to go after raw vegans and fruitarians, because they seem like lovely people. But as a whole they are more concerned with diet than ethics, and their extreme beliefs smear veganism as a whole. The obsession with thinness and “the perfect diet” really is becoming problematic. Like you say, this stuff is child abuse no matter how nice these people are.

    • KC Starr

      I’m not sure what ‘extreme’ beliefs you’re referring to with regard to vegans who eat a raw diet… I’m a vegan for the animals but I’m becoming a raw vegan for my health – those are two very different things. I do not believe that the wide range of vegan diets that people have (some vegans are junk food eaters, some eat cooked food, some eat lots of meat substitutes, some don’t eat meat substitutes or soy, some eat only raw food, some eat only fruit smoothies) poses any threat to veganism because veganism is not a lifestyle or a diet – veganism is a moral standpoint, the diet is simply something you are obliged to do once you accept that moral standpoint and how you go about doing it is entirely up to you. The obsession with thinness and a perfect diet is not unique to veganism – that’s everywhere in omnivore diets too. Just because this woman fed her kids only berries does not make her vegan, it just makes her a terrible mother – you seem to be be lumping raw vegans in with her (“this stuff is child abuse no matter how nice these people are” – what people are you referring to?) It’s great that you feed your kids a vegan diet – but pointing out that other vegans criticise you for feeding them burgers and soy as if that’s a problem within the vegan movement is just nonsensical, I am sure plenty of omnivores criticise you for not feeding them meat and dairy. That’s just people, it has nothing to do with being vegan.

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