In a case likely to kick up — yet again – the debate over parental
responsibility regarding how children are fed, a Florida mother was
arrested Tuesday for child neglect and her newborn was admitted to the
hospital in a crisis that started over vegan beliefs.
station WESH reports that Sarah Anne Markham’s pediatrician alerted
authorities after the woman’s 12-day-old baby appeared dehydrated during
a doctor visit. The doctor said that Markham refused the medical advice
to admit the child to the hospital or take the medicine offered, on the
grounds that “it contained ingredients that came from animals.”
After police were summoned to her home, Markham reportedly told them
that she’d purchased organic soy formula for the baby, and that “she
wanted to pursue a religion-based treatment and she had contacted a
‘natural’ or vegan doctor, but police said she did not share any proof
of this to them.” Police added that “They asked Markham if the product
was confirmed with a doctor that it was safe to give the newborn, and
she replied saying that since it was organic, it must be OK.” The baby
remains in protective custody. - Salon
To answer the question in the title: No, veganism is not child abuse - but ignorance is. There are far too many people who believe everything they read. The reality is that there is very little truth in this world, especially when someone's profit is involved.
If someone is going to make the choice to be a vegan they should do the research to make sure they know exactly how to substitute what they will be cutting out of their diets. Any parent who is considering a vegan diet for their child needs to consider what is best for the child and make sure that the child with be sufficiently nourished - to impose veganism on an infant without proper research or without having the child's best interests as the starting point is child abuse. Imposing veganism on a child simply because it follows with the beliefs of the parents turns veganism into a religion and not a lifestyle.
Then, you have to ask the question if alternative food choices are really all that great. Many people who do not eat meat will replace it with soy, which mostly comes from what used to be a pretty big jungle with a diverse collection of plants, insects and animals. The soy industry is a big one - and it has not come without great cost. This could be compared to the palm oil industry where palm oil is now an ingredient in so many things we see and use on a daily basis - but those palm trees have replaced natural forests and jungles (and therefore killed all the wildlife, most of those animals starved to death).
And then there is the big "Natural" lie. Stick the word "Natural" on a label and it suddenly appears to imply that it is organic and from some picturesque setting where the farmer lives and works in harmony with nature. Yes, people still believe this even with a box of cereal. You cannot trust anything in this world where you cannot see for yourself exactly what goes into making it. Newsflash: people lie, and corporations are made up of people.
All of this information and more is freely available on the internet, so why do so many people still buy into the illusions? Any person wanting to give their child a well balanced diet has everything they need at their fingertips - obviously when I say "any person" in this instance I am only referring to those who actually would have access to the internet, which are generally the only kinds of people concerned with things like veganism and buying "natural" products.
Now don't get me wrong - there are so many people in this world who truly have no choice, they eat what they can, when they can. This is precisely why it is so ridiculous that those who are "privileged" spend so much time worrying about what they're eating and so little time considering that there is something horribly wrong with this world. Yes, the abuse of animals and the use of them for profit is unacceptable, but veganism is not an answer to that. The abuse of animals is a symptom, not the cause. If you really want to change the food industry then you need to start investigating the bigger picture, because everything in this system is connected - find the cause and you can stop ALL of the abuse and mistreatment for animals and people alike.