Well, the backlash was inevitable and swift.
The Royal Academy of Medicine of Belgium recently published a legal opinion in the aftermath of some serious child neglect cases. The Belgian doctors were effectively calling for adults who raise their children as vegans to be prosecuted.
Now the US Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a non-profit organisation with one 12,000 doctors, has a come out with a more measured response: the Belgian report contained “several key statements and conclusions … not based on scientific evidence and were both erroneous and misleading”. In other words a vegan diet can be healthy for children.
In a hard-hitting three page letter complete with citations, the PCRM refutes the Belgian Doctors who had claimed that veganism is ‘unsuitable for unborn children, children, teenagers, and pregnant and lactating women.’ Furthermore, it had opined that it is ‘not ethical to impose on children’.
To deny children a healthier plan is indefensible
Physicians Committee president Neal Barnard, M.D. Stated that “it is clear that children in Europe, America, and the world over are at increasingly high risk of health problems related to a diet heavy in meat and dairy products. To deny children a healthier path is indefensible.”
The letter concludes: “Given the health benefits that come with consuming a vegan diet, the Académie Royale de Médecine de Belgique would be remiss to suggest anything that discourages such eating by its citizens, including parents for their babies and children”.
The language is couched in professional terms. The words are more measured than those of the PETA spokesperson in the immediate aftermath of the Legal Opinion being published “ignorant codswallop” was her reaction. They are very different words but in reality, the conclusion is the same.