Criminalising vegans – a reply from Italy

In response to the HK veg article, Italy criminalising veganism – why it’s bunk and why it isn’t, we received the following reply from Yari Prete. Yari is a writer for Vegan Italy monthly magazine. He is also the Ambassador for the Italian city of Turin for HappyCow online healthy eating directory. His reply is well worth reading and so is published with permission here in full in English and also Italian.

Prison cells

You were very keen in your analysis, and for sure you have covered in detail the press attack against veganism which is being supported by the meat industry.
Savino’s proposal actually follows a bad campaign over the past few months, where all Italian newspapers had mistakenly attacked vegans by telling untrue stories about malnourished babies, pretending their parents were vegan and were raising them with a vegan diet. Actually all cases were false, since neither the parents nor their children were actually so.
Just in one case both parents were vegan and their baby was not growing as expected, but because he was suffering from a serious heart illness (luckily solved through surgery). His doctor also stated that the vegan diet was not at all related to his pathology (and by the way, the hospital he works at has an advisory centre for vegetarian and vegan parents and children).
I read Savino’s proposal, and actually it doesn’t say anything about veganism. The law draft only says that, if a minor is provided with insufficient food and essential nutrients, his/her parents/tutors can be convicted.
If we add that the Italian Ministry of Health has stated that a balanced vegan diet is compatible with all phases of human life, and that has also obliged all schools to serve vegan meals upon simple request (before it was not compulsory and some schools were also asking for medical certificates), I think there’s nothing to worry about.
I think Savino’s words were just to reassure the meat and dairy industry that her party (Forza Italia – Berlusconi’s party) is supporting them, and it was also a way to make newspapers talk about her (a semi-unknown MP actually) and about her party, which has (luckily for us!) been losing popularity and shares in the country.
If you want to read more about that, here is another thorough analysis (in Italian only, but you can get it translated by Google) very similar to yours:
Yari Prete
(Yari Prete)
Sei stato molto preciso nella tua analisi, e ha sicuramente coperto nel dettaglio l’attacco della stampa contro il veganismo supportato dall’industria della carne.
La proposta della Savino segue effettivamente una campagna negativa negli ultimi mesi, dove tutti i quotidiani italiani hanno attaccato per errore i vegani raccontando storie non vere su bambini malnutriti, dicendo che i loro genitori fossero vegan e li stessero crescendo con una dieta vegan. In realtà tutti i casi erano falsi, dato che né i genitori né i bambini lo erano effettivamente.
Solo in un caso entrambi i genitori erano vegani e il bambino non stava crescendo come previsto, ma perché sofferente di una seria malattia cardiaca (per fortuna risolta chirurgicamente). Anche il dottore ha affermato che la dieta vegan non era collegata alla sua patologia (e tra l’altro l’ospedale in cui lavoro ha un centro di consulenza per genitori e bambini vegetariani e vegani).

Ho letto la proposta della Savino, e in realtà non dice nulla a proposito del veganismo. La bozza di legge dice soltanto che, se a un minore vengono somministrati cibo e nutrienti essenziali in maniera insufficiente, i suoi genitori/tutori possono essere incarcerati.
Se aggiungiamo che il Ministero della Salute italiano ha affermato che una dieta vegan bilanciata è compatibile con tutte le fasi della vita umana, e che ha anche obbligato tutte le scuole a servire pasti vegan con semplice richiesta (prima non era obbligatorio e alcune scuole richiedevano anche certificati medici), penso che non ci sia nulla di cui preoccuparsi.
Penso che le parole della Savino siano soltanto per rassicurare l’industria della carne e del latte che il suo partito (Forza Italia – il partito di Berlusconi) li supporta, ed è stato inoltre un modo per far parlare i giornali di lei (una parlamentare semisconosciuta) e del suo partito, che (fortunatamente!) sta perdendo popolarità e quote nel paese.
Se vuoi leggerne di più, qui c’è un’altra analisi approfondita (solo in italiano, ma la puoi tradurre con Google) molto simile alla tua:

 

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