The bill came to be after four cases of hospitalized children who were found to be severely malnourished after being kept on the diet by their parents. It was brought to parliament by Elvira Savino of the right wing Forza Party.
Despite those cases many healthcare specialists and dieticians such as The American Dietic Association claim a vegan diet is fine for children and can be suggested by parents. However, it’s also been pointed out that when it comes to children the vegan diet needs to be altered to ensure growth and development go smoothly. Some doctors believe that the parents from the aforementioned cases weren’t so keen on that last part when introducing their children to the vegan way.
The basic vegan diet has been around since the 1940’s but has seen a huge increase in popularity since 2008. Vegans don’t eat animal products, but unlike vegetarians this doesn’t just mean meat. Vegans don’t eat dairy or eggs either. Their diets tend to be very high in fiber.
An ethical vegan is someone who goes beyond just the diet and extends their beliefs into all aspects of life including clothing, ethical vegans don’t wear anything made of leather or wool.
“There is no objection if the person making the choice is an informed adult. The problem arises when children are involved”, said Ms. Savino. Under the bill anyone imposing the diet on their children could face up to a year in jail, while in cases where the child suffers permanently debilitating injuries jail time can be up to four years. In any cases where a child dies offenders would face up to six years in prison.
What’s being called The Savino Law aims to, “stigmatise the reckless and dangerous eating behavior imposed by parents to the detriment of minors”.
Those who are against the law say that Italy has a growing obesity problem that deserves just as much attention if not more.