February 21, 2005

"Raising children as vegans 'unethical', says professor"

After studying impoverished children in Kenya, and finding that supplementing their very poor diet with meat or milk made the children healthier, this dope concludes that vegetarianism is evil.

I dare say she would have seen the same (or better) improvement had she provided the children with seitan and soy milk and a wide range of greens, for instance, along with vitamin B12 supplements (which most vegans know they need). It is obviously more difficult to maintain a comparable diet without changing the economic desperation of the people she studied, but that underscores the relative ease with which we in the "developed" world can avoid resorting to eating dead animals.

Besides B12 (available as a cheap supplement), calcium and iron are noted as concerns. Many greens have calcium, and many products, such as rice and soy milks and even orange juice, are fortified with it. Significantly, the metabolism of animal protein leaches calcium out of the body, which is why government nutritionists recommend so much. Vegans require quite a bit less to maintain their calcium. Iron (and other minerals) is available in many greens and other vegetables. Cooking in iron pots is an easy way to add it as well.

To characterize vegetarians as unethical implies that it is ethical to kill animals for food (let alone for "sport") when we no longer have to. Yet vegetarians are well documented as a much healthier group in general than animal-eaters. Not only for the sake of our fellow creatures but also for our own health, vegetarianism is without doubt the ethical choice at every stage of life.

Even if you have no problem eating dead animals, to call vegetarianism unethical is the sign of a troubled psyche.

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