Parents risk jail for raising children as vegans

Doctors in Belgium have said giving children a vegan diet is "unethical" and should be a crime. Vegans do not eat any animal products, including eggs, dairy products and other animal-derived food. Belgium's medical association declared that veganism is "unsuitable for unborn children, children, teenagers, and pregnant…women". It said vegan parenting is "non-assistance to a person in danger," which is a criminal offence that carries a prison sentence of up to two years. It said children need the protein and essential fatty acids from animal products.

The animal rights group PETA rejected the ruling and called it "ignorant codswallop". A PETA spokeswoman said: "A meat- and dairy-based diet is what strikes people down in adulthood, as it can lead to hardened arteries that cause stroke, brain aneurysms, and heart attacks. She added: "A well-planned vegan diet is perfect for babies and children." She said her children "thrive on a balanced vegan diet". She added: "It's the parents' responsibility to ensure their child is getting all the necessary nutrients." Around three per cent of Belgian children live in vegan families.