Council Attempts To Seize Child For Being Vegetarian!

22 Apr

I read this story in The Sunday Times and was simply amazed.

Can you believe this happened?  Imagine making a dietary choice for your child, and not an uncommon one, but simply to have them avoid eating meat and dairy produce… and then being accused of selectively starving that child.

The child in question, who is remaining unnamed, became under Social Services’ watch when he required hospitalisation for rickets and the doctors began to suspect malnutrition as being the cause.

Regardless of the fact that the parents had two other children at home following the same diet, who were perfectly healthy, the council applied to have the boy taken into care!

I read this article, as I said with horror, but also with a great sadness.  I have to wonder at what stage (if age), professional nutritionists were consulted about this child’s diet.

The child was shown to be deficient in Vitamin D, zinc and iron.

So, was malnutrition the obvious conclusion to come to?

Well, not really.

Deficiencies of Vitamin D, zinc and iron are all common, and the family’s diet wouldn’t be the obvious reason for the child to have them.

The best sources of Vitamin D are fish, which the family ate in abundance (they avoided poultry and red meat, and dairy produce, but ate fish), and while the most common sources of zinc are red meats, it can also be obtained from seeds and fish such as sardines.  Iron, again, although usually associated with red meat, can be obtained from bran, seeds and fish.

While it’s possible that the specific diet this family followed may have been lacking in iron and zinc, and to a lesser extent Vitamin D, their choice to follow a meat and dairy free diet should never have resulted in losing their son being a possibility.  Maybe some education was needed, to make the family aware of the nutrients needed and the best sources for them.

The thing that I find most worrying is that a team of doctors and medical staff made the decision to involve Social Services!  People from a medical background, who the majority of the public like to believe are informed about nutrition as well, thought the appropriate measure was to almost have a child separated from his family.  Could they not have referred the family to the hospital dietetic?  Surely this would have been a more suitable measure?

Fortunately, the family in question have a happy ending, but this story raises important questions and certainly acts as a reminder that nutrient deficiencies are more common than we often imagine.

What are your thoughts on this story?  I’d love to hear what you think…

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5 Responses to “Council Attempts To Seize Child For Being Vegetarian!”

  1. Jill April 22, 2010 at 10:23 am #

    Wow, I read that and my blood began to boil! If anyone saw the BBC Panorama episode ‘Spoilt rotten’ then you may agree with my statements!

    They are quick to take this child away from a family believing that they were making the right choices for their child. What about the ‘morbidly obese’ children whos parents conitune to feed the poison ‘junk food’ and drinks. What about the children who have to endure having general anaesthetic to have 8 baby teeth removed becuase they are rotten!

    One 5 year old boy weighed in at 10 stone and was using a wheel chair to get to and from school! Yet his mother refused to believe she was overfeeding him……….

    Grrrrrrrrr who says ignorance is bliss?

    Thanks for the info Kate! x

    • glyco247 April 22, 2010 at 10:56 am #

      Hi Jill,

      I completely agree with you.

      I did a post recently about “junk food kindness” actually… surely the parents who feed their children junk food diets knowing it isn’t nutritious are the ones we should be focusing on. It would be interesting to see how often Social Services are involved when hospitals are presented with obese, unfit, asthmatic, diabetic, allergy-riddled children.

      My blood boils too just thinking about these issues.

      Thanks for the comment Jill!

      Katie x

  2. Amy Hagerup April 26, 2010 at 3:31 pm #

    Katie, Thanks for sharing this. I continue to be amazed at how backwards our countries can be. In America, we can kill our babies in the womb, but can get arrested for not taking a newborn home in a carseat! Go figure! Thanks for your posts.

  3. Terry Petrovick April 27, 2010 at 11:30 am #

    That is the craziest story I have hear in a while. The truth is all the commercialism of our foods is much more harmful but, with so much profit, big industry wins.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Be Well,

    Terry

    • glyco247 April 27, 2010 at 8:20 pm #

      Hey Terry,

      Thanks for taking the time to comment.

      You’re absolutely right, the big companies seem to get away with a lot of things that us individual people couldn’t… while families like this one end up in crazy situations.

      Thanks again,

      Katie

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