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Veg*n Vegetarian Children & Pets

thalestral

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I've now been vegetarian for a good half a year and I'm thrilled to bits with my new lifestyle. However, being an actual vegetarian myself now I've been surprised to see what hostility vegetarians have to put up. It often isn't intended but I've been asked whether I'll "force" any children I have in the future to be vegetarian, and have had people laugh at the idea of vegetarian pet diets without checking out the facts first.

Anyway, the main point of this thread is for those who have had children - have you raised them vegetarian or not? And for those who haven't - do you plan to? And is your partner in that case vegetarian as well?

For children I see it as more of a choice dilemma than a health dilemma. Vegetarians are just as likely to be as (un)healthy as meat eating people, but is it right or wrong to "impose" your lifestyle on your child (think of this perhaps as raising your children a certain religion maybe)? And would/do you do the same to your partner? Do you think a child would resent you later from bring them up vegetarian? Or perhaps even resent you as their vegetarian parent from bringing them up to eat meat?

The second point is, do you see this as being different from feeding your pets? Obligate carnivores such as ferrets and cats, as well as omnivores like rats, and omnivore/carnivores like dogs, are all traditionally fed food with meat in or given meat as a food. With humans we know a vegetarian diet is just as healthy as a diet including meat, but is it the same with animals? Would a vet recommend a vegetarian diet over one including meat? And if not, do we have the right to make this choice for them? After all a child can change their mind when they grow older, but a pet will never be able to tell us what they want.

I don't really have any answers at present, just a lot of questions and hypothetical situations flying around inside my noggin - but I'd be very interested to hear the opinions of others on the matter of choosing whether to "make" those in our care be vegetarian.
 

Terekins

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I don't have children, I don't know that I ever will (I like animals much more than I like people!), however I have a very strong opinion in regard to this issue. I find it extremely hypocritical for people who eat meat to say vegetarians who raise their children as vegetarians, are forcing their own views on their children. Of course they are! But so are people who eat meat and raise their kids to eat meat!! As a parent you decide what's best for your child--that's what parenting is. If anyone should be condemned for how they feed their children, it's those who don't even decide either way, and feed their children arbitrarily chosen foods/crap without even considering how it affects the health of their child. Gggggrrrrrrr....:mad:

good idea for a thread!
 

wickedrodent

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In the very distant future when I have kids I want to raise them as vegetarians. Once they get old enough to decide for themselves, and if they want to try meat, that will be fine. I find it kind of hypocritical to be a vegetarian and to raise your kids to eat meat.

For pets, right now I dont have a say in if they eat meat or not since it is my mom who buys their food. If it were up to me, they would not eat it either..
 

JarBax

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I became vegan when my son was fifteen months old. He became vegan with me (though was still breastfed dailyat that time). He is now thirteen, and we have reached a 'happy medium' where we drink only soya milk, though eat yoghurt and cheese, and will eat fish. It is our way of life as much as all other aspects of life. Every family does things differently (from shopping habits, to religeous beliefs, to how to raise children), and this is our way.

That is how I see it - the way we do things, and the way we do things! It has evolved from complete and utter strictly no erring atall veganism, to a level where we can life ethically, without such binding restrictions. He hasn't openly shown any resentment as yet - though there are plenty other groans to get his teenage head around!

I haven't had any deep discussions with my son about reasons why we don't eat certain things, as it is just the way we do things. It isn't really an issue, as that is how we live! It is however, occasionally an issue for other people, which can be annoying. Whilst I like debate, I wouldn't dream of questioning somebody elses lifestyle, unfortunately, others are not always as thoughtful!
 

PiggieMamaKelly

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Great thread. I've been researching the topic of vegetarian infants lately. I have no idea how to raise healthy vegetarian babies. Nutrition is so important for babies, I worry I'll not give the kid enough protein because I know that I do not get enough. Having a vegetarian 3 year old seems easy, but what do you do with itty bitty ones? I suppose I'll figure it out in time.

But my biggest dilemma is whether I'll be able to do it at all. My omni husband is adamantly opposed to having veggie children. I adamantly want veggie children. The problem is when I married him I was not vegetarian, so in a way I see his point of view. He didn't volunteer to have veggie kids, and since they're his kids too.... It's going to be a tough battle. Especially since there really is no middle ground. It's all or nothing. Anyone been in that situation before?
 

Lydia

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Great thread! Wehn my husband and I started dating, I told him that I am a vegetarian; I won't buy, cook, serve or eat meat, and I won't raise children to eat it either. I asked him if he was OK with that - he said he was - and so we started dating. Our wedding was a "comfort food" vegetarian buffet with food meat-eaters wouldn't find scary (we had many pleasantly surprised guests) but it was still hard going into it with all of the flack we both got. He stuck up for me as much as he could, considering that these are my ethics and not his, and we worked our way through it. If/when we have kids, then they'll be raised vegetarian in our home. My hubby now only eats meat when he goes out, but is around 80% vegetarian just based on how I cook. If we have kids, then they'll be raised veggie until they're old enough to make their own decisions. I compare it to spiritual beliefs. If we have kids then we'll raise them in our faith, but once they're old enough to make their own decisions on faith then they'll do just that!

:)
 

JarBax

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Have a wee bit more time now, and wanted to add a bit about the idea of 'imposing' your veggie lifestyle on your child!

Taking the literal meaning 'to impose' as 'to inflict', the whole idea of a wholesome vegetarian lifestyle is about as far removed from the meaning as to almost contradict it. Considering many vegetarian's upstanding beliefs abhor animal cruelty ('inflicting' suffering on animals) the idea of 'inflicting' a lifestyle which would contributes to such cruelty leads vegetarians to offer an alternative way of living to their children - cruelty free!

As a responsible parent, you do your best for your child. Decisions are not taken lightly, many mistakes are made, and learned from, but all in all - you do what you think is the very best for your child. Time is spent creating a living environment which nourishes and cherishes the precious life you have created, at every stage, considering the health and nurturing requirements of the little one.

You bring a child into your life, into your way of life, believing it to be as good as it can possibly be for your them, your family unit as a whole. If you made no changes to your routine after having a child: staying up late, maybe getting drunk and crashing out on the sofa, music still blaring - then waking up at lunchtime, crawling to the toilet, to rolling back into bed with a hangover, finally surfacing at tea-time, to start all over again - that would be imposing your lifestyle on your child!

A lot of parenting is about making choices, and just one of those choices involves mealtimes and consumer choices. I have friends, the mother is vegetarian, but her husband and two children eat meat. Other friends, the whole family (mum, dad and three children) are now vegan. I know meat eaters who used to be vegetarians, and families who have varying degrees of vegetarianism. I think it all boils down to individuality, and what works best for you and your family!

One of those choices may be whether to compromise your beliefs incase your child will resent you for it in the future. As, luckily, we can't see into the future, we have no idea what our children will resent us for. They may decide that we as parents made the wrong decision in bringing them up vegetarian/ to eat meat/to let them make their own minds up when they're old enough (presumably eating meat until that time came (whenever old enough is!))/to not even consider the possibility of vegetarianism etc. No matter what we do - there will be something wrong with it (and hopefully not everything wrong!) Looking back, if you can say 'I did my best for you', then that has to be good enough! :cheerful:
 

xDanix

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Exactly, Terekins!

When my husband and I have children, we will raise them as vegetarians (I can´t say vegan, because even I´m not vegan yet...). And we will teach them about all the cruelty of eating meat, and teach them to love animals.
But, if the kid grows up and decide to eat meat (teenagers are really a problem), I won´t be able to avoid that, but I won´t cook anything with meat for him/her or let my kitchen be used to do that. I´ll be very disappointed with him/her, but I won´t forbid that.

My biggest fear is that my relatives start to tell him just the opposite of what I´ll teach, because my whole family and my husband´s family eat meat. And start to make jokes about vegetarianism and all that crap in front of him.

I find it extremely hypocritical for people who eat meat to say vegetarians who raise their children as vegetarians, are forcing their own views on their children. Of course they are! But so are people who eat meat and raise their kids to eat meat!! As a parent you decide what's best for your child--that's what parenting is. If anyone should be condemned for how they feed their children, it's those who don't even decide either way, and feed their children arbitrarily chosen foods/crap without even considering how it affects the health of their child.
 

Chaos&Order

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The difference is that humans are omnivores. When your child eats meat, he or she is doing what is biologically natural for them. However I do agree that as a parent it's up to you to decide what's really best for your children.

Vegetarian pets I think is a bit ridiculous. It is against their very nature to be vegetarian. I can understand people having a moral dilema feeding meat to a pet when they are vegetarian but you have to deal with that. You made the choice to be vegetarian even though the natural cylce of life means that animals will eat animals. Again, you have to do what is best for your pet, and not what is best for you. However, I admit I don't know a lot about this and will have to do some more research on the subject.
 

Percy's Mom

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Vegetarian pets I think is a bit ridiculous. It is against their very nature to be vegetarian.
I'm assuming you mean pets like dogs and cats. Some pets, like guinea pigs, are indeed herbivores and should not have any animal byproducts.
 

Chaos&Order

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Yes, that is what I meant. And this of course is all just my personal opinion. I think animals should be fed what their natural diet requires.
 

cookie_gal

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Unless there is a medical reason for an omnivore/carnivore pet to be vegetarian (and this is really quite rare) then it is selfish to force the pet to conform to your beliefs. Often an owner will think their pet can't handle meat and use this as an excuse when really they were probably feeding too rich a meat. I bet if they tried chicken or fish the pet would be fine in many cases.

As for children I think it is risky wjilst they are growing up to put them on a vegetarian diet due to trace vitamins and minerals they miss out on. Plus it can lead to bullying of the kid by others for being 'weird' or 'different' (not my thoughts) even if the parents think they are doing best. Its not the same but I think of the boy in 'About a boy' where his mom thought she was doing best by him and he was bullied for this.

In my opinion parents should wait til their child has grown up and can make their own decision based on non-biased information.
 

xDanix

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I don´t agree with you at all.
If the diet of the kid has a good variety of all kinds of food and it is followed by a nutritionist, the kid won´t have any problems. I know many parents that are raising their kids as vegetarians/vegans and they´re all healthy, much more that a lot of kids who eat meat and loads of crap like candies, sugar, McDonald´s and Burger King´s food.
I don´t agree that kids shouldn´t eat these "crap" above, they have the right to eat, but the problem today is that the kids today are eating A LOT of it.

About bullying: it happens for so many stupid reasons... so I don´t agree to use that as an excuse to not do something that you think it´s best for your kid. Like "I know vegetarianism is right for my kid, but I won´t do that, because MAYBE, ONE DAY, he/she can suffer in school". That´s not the type of thinking I want to have.
What the parents of vegetarian kids should do is teach them why they´re vegetarian, and to know what to answer to the other kids when they ask about it. And, of course, raise the kid teaching him to defend himself and not to be a loser or behave like one. The others kids attacked you? Attack them back. Defend yourself. These vegetarian children of my friends, none of them have such problems in school.

As for children I think it is risky wjilst they are growing up to put them on a vegetarian diet due to trace vitamins and minerals they miss out on. Plus it can lead to bullying of the kid by others for being 'weird' or 'different' (not my thoughts) even if the parents think they are doing best. Its not the same but I think of the boy in 'About a boy' where his mom thought she was doing best by him and he was bullied for this.

In my opinion parents should wait til their child has grown up and can make their own decision based on non-biased information.
 

Chaos&Order

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And, of course, raise the kid teaching him to defend himself and not to be a loser or behave like one. The others kids attacked you? Attack them back. Defend yourself.

That is way out of line. Bullying is a HUGE problem in schools. If it were so easy as to "not be a loser", I'm sure it wouldn't be. It's unfair for you to call children being bullied 'losers' and unfair for you to blame the parents for it.
 

heatherbunnie

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I agree with Chaos&Order, just because a kid is passive or afraid of a bully does NOT make him/her a loser. I can't speak for all places but I know where I live it's just naive to think that a little kid being a vegetarian he/she won't get picked on. And pardon me, but I'd rather have the kid that tries hard to ignore the bully, even though it might be hard, instead of ATTACKING him/her back.
 

crazywiggy

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I think raising your kids as vegitarians is absolutely fine, so long as you make sure they have a healthy diet. I certaibnly wouldn't think of it as "forcing them" in a negative way. I could imagine it might be more complicated if one parent was veg*n and one omni though...

I am generally against the idea of veg*n pets (not counting herbivores obviously) unless there is a very good, specific reason for it. Animals like dogs and cats are designed to eat animal products - it is natural and healthy for them to do so. I think it would be wrong to force them to be veg*n, just as it is wrong to feed a guinea pig meat or dairy.
 

standuprookie

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Plus it can lead to bullying of the kid by others for being 'weird' or 'different' (not my thoughts) even if the parents think they are doing best.
Bullies are just that bullyies, you could have a veggie kid grow up and pick on other kids for the way they dress, talk, ect. A bully doesn't need a reason to pick on another kid, if he/she decides to pick on you they will find/make up a reason to do it, if you happen to be a veggie, yes they may target that but if you aren't they will find/make up another reason. You should also never run your or your childs life based on what other people may say or think about it. (much less some mean kid on the playground)
 

Susan9608

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Keep the subject on vegetarianism, guys, and not on bullies//losers/whatever. Thanks.
 

Terekins

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I agree, Standuprookie. If you were to get picked on for picking up litter or for volunteering after school, would that be a reason to stop doing these things?
As far as kids not getting trace vitamins by not eating meat...I think the kids who get NO vitamins because they eat no vegetables (my boyfriend falls into that group too :rolleyes: ) are at a greater risk of health problems. I always get a kick out of people telling me to "be careful" and "make sure you get your protein" because my diet is unconventional, when I'm sure all the cholesterol and sodium they're getting from animal products is adversly affecting their health; because it's considered the Normal diet, it must be healthy. There is a MAJOR problem with how food is advertized, and with the way large companies have the impact they do on what is taught to school children in regard to healthy eating. In reality, it's all about money, not the truth.
Here is a book that really opened my eyes about children and animal products in schools: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_g...rds=diet+for+a+new+planet&Go.x=0&Go.y=0&Go=Go

Here is a link to a great website. This lady raised her little boy as a vegan (although I think he was actually raised vegetarian and later came to be vegan on his own):
http://veganlunchbox.blogspot.com/
 

PiggieMamaKelly

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Chaos and Order, please tell me what evidence you have that it is "biologically natural" for humans to eat meat.
 
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