YOU CAN'T FORCE KIDS TO BE VEGAN LEE!
I agree. You can't force anyone to be vegan. It's a choice.
A choice - meaning they should have the option to choose.
So give them a choice.
Ask them. If they could save the life of a plant or an animal - what would they choose?
Ask them what they would rather eat - a plant (that has no brain therefore feels no pain)
or an animal (that can think and feel everything)?
WELL MOST KIDS ARE CHOOSING TO EAT ANIMALS!
Are they being given a choice?
It's impossible to make a decision when you're given only one option isn't it?
As with any choices we have to make in life, whether it be politics, religion, love, choosing schools...
we need to way up the pros and cons and to know as much information as we can, about all the options
on offer, before we make an informed decision.
EVERYONE'S KIDS EAT ANIMALS MATE, IT'S NOT JUST MINE!
Animal flesh has played a big part in all our lives. The reason we’ve all consumed it in the past
(and that goes for us vegans too - our consciences aren’t exactly clean) is because it's fed to us from an early age and we're raised on it. So why would we question it? We’re young, impressionable and we trust our parents to feed us the right things, even if they themselves are being misled.
We eat what we're told and we're told very little.
We're conditioned into thinking certain, specific animals (the ones we can make the most money from) are only here for us to abuse/exploit/eat and so because we believe these things we’re told, and because we've eaten animals for such a long time, it can therefore seem like a hard habit to break.
But it is just a habit. A very destructive and damaging habit.
A lot of people all over the world are raised vegan and can’t begin to comprehend paying someone
to kill an animal for them, let alone eating one.
If we were fed and raised on plants instead, we too would grow up to think killing and eating animals was insane.
But kids will eat what they are given and, until they can learn to cook for themselves,
what they are given is down to us isn't it?
But fear not, (or fear more?) but the world is changing. Most of the new generation will be vegan.
They will. They'll have no choice... Have you not seen what's happening to the planet?
NOT being vegan is causing climate change.
WHAT? HOW CAN 'NOT BEING VEGAN' CAUSE CLIMATE CHANGE?
Because if you're not vegan, you consume animals. Which means you fund animal agriculture
(the farming of animals) which is the LEADING CAUSE OF CLIMATE CHANGE, as well as the number one
cause of deforestation, water pollution, biodiversity loss and species extinction.
NAH, CARS AND TRAFFIC IS THE CAUSE OF THAT STUFF!
Animal agriculture accounts for more direct greenhouse gas emissions overall than the ENTIRE transport sector combined so ALL cars, vans, bikes, buses, trains, ships and planes!
WELL, I CYCLE TO WORK SO...
Yet you eat animals during your lunch-break. Eating animals is way worse for the environment than driving is.
Yes, considerably. So next time you brag about cycling to work for the sake of the environment,
take a good look inside your lunch box.
ANYWAY, KIDS AREN'T GOING TO BE VEGAN.
Kids all over the world are ALREADY vegan. Mine is.
SURELY YOU'RE JUST IMPOSING YOUR VIEWS ON THEM THOUGH?
Imposing the views that all animals deserve to live a happy life, free from violence, abuse, oppression
and exploitation? You're damn right I am!
Just like I impose the views that humans should live a happy life free from violence, abuse, oppression
Why aren't YOU imposing that?
DOES YOUR KID LIKE ANIMALS LEE?
He LOVES animals. Everything from insects to amphibians, mammals to birds - he wants to hold them,
learn all about them and take care of them.
That has nothing to do with me. Nothing imposed there. That's all him.
Mind you, what kid doesn't love animals? They're born loving them.
If children want to hurt animals when they're older, then that's inherited or copied behaviour
but it certainly doesn't come naturally to them - they weren't born with an inherent need to hurt or
to cause suffering to other living beings.
KIDS LOVE ANIMALS EH?
They really do. There isn’t a child alive that doesn’t want to stroke a cat they pass in the street,
meet a piglet on a farm or hold a newborn chick after they've hatched.
AGREED. ANIMALS ARE GREAT.
So why are you feeding them to your kids?
If your kids knew what you were feeding them, do you think they’d like it?
What if they knew HOW their food was prepared?
Yes. I could happily show my son footage on how his food is made (showing how crops are grown,
dug up and made into burgers and sausages) without traumatising him for life.
Could you say the same?
Would you show your kid videos on how the animals they see grazing in fields, end up on their plate?
Yeah? You'd happily show them slaughterhouse footage would you?
WELL, NOT THAT BIT.
Don't you think children today should know where their food comes from?
Why shouldn't they know? After all, it's going into THEIR bodies.
If we’re not prepared to show our kids where their food comes from, for fear of upsetting them or
traumatising them, should we be feeding it to them?
There's also the associated health risks from eating animals.
YES. WAIT, WHAT?
The World Health Organisation has classified red meat (beef, lamb and pork) as a type 2A carcinogen
(the same as cigarettes, alcohol, asbestos and arsenic)
and processed red meat (sausages, bacon, hot dogs) – as a type 1 carcinogen (which causes cancer).
Dairy (milk, butter, yoghurt and cheese) is the top source of saturated fat contributing to the
UK’s leading cause of death: heart disease, as well as type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s
- in addition to being associated with an increased risk of breast, ovarian and prostate cancers.
Although most of these diseases are not symptomatic until adulthood,
they have their beginnings in childhood.
Whilst our kids don't need to know this depressing stuff just yet, we can still protect them
and look out for them. I mean, it's kind of our job right?
By eating plant-based alternatives, as well as whole foods, like fruit, vegetables, pasta, legumes, etc.
we can reduce our kids’ exposure to these health risks.
SO MY KIDS COULD GET SICK FROM EATING ANIMALS?!
Yes, they could.
But by excluding animal flesh, cow’s milk and bird's eggs from your children’s diet, you are reducing their risk of disease and illness dramatically.
And all you have to do is simply NOT FEED THEM DECEASED ANIMAL CARCASSES.
BUT WHAT ABOUT THEIR B12, PROTEIN AND FIBRE LEE? THEY'RE GROWING KIDS!
Everything they need, they can get from plants and vegetables
(see this blog post for more information on B12)
(* SPOILER ALERT * - it comes from the soil, NOT from animals!)
All the good stuff you think they're getting from eating animals, is from the PLANTS the animals have already consumed, not from the animals themselves.
Kids are getting what they need second-hand when it's filtered through animals however, by eating plant-based foods, as well as taking supplements, they will be getting everything first-hand.
The supplements are chewy, fruit-flavoured sweets (which my kid loves to eat alongside breakfast!)
and these top up their B12 (amongst other things) every day.
Think about it - all that unnecessary time growing an animal - all that water (it takes more than 2,400 gallons of water to produce just 1 pound of beef. That’s a whole lot of water being wasted!),
all that food (which, if fed to the starving, could solve world hunger overnight), all that land, all that time,
destruction and slaughter... when you can just get everything you need from a single chewy sweet!
Well since there is zero fibre found in animal products, eating plant-based foods helps your kids meet their
required fibre intake:
• Children 5–11 years: 20g
• Children 11–16 years: 25g
• Adolescents 16–18 years: 30g
On average, children and teenagers are only getting around 15g or less of fibre a day. Encouraging them to eat plenty of fruit and vegetables and starchy foods (like choosing wholegrain versions and potatoes with the skins left on!) can help to ensure they are eating enough fibre.
There is also strong evidence that eating plenty of fibre (or 'roughage') is associated with a lower
risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and bowel cancer.
SO WHAT ABOUT SCHOOLS?
What about them?
WELL ARE YOUR KIDS VEGAN THERE?
Of course. If you're vegan (kind to animals), you're vegan everywhere.
DID YOU KNOW that it's still mandatory for school caterers in England to serve animal flesh and
their secretions to the pupils?
*Ahem* It is MANDATORY, not to mention LEGAL, for our children to be fed Class 1 and Class 2a carcinogens (the same as cigarettes, alcohol, asbestos and arsenic) at their schools.
The current outdated regulations state that schools in England must serve a 'daily portion of dairy',
'a portion of meat at least three times a week', and 'a portion of fish once every three weeks'.
This is out of step with public health advice and is damaging to the environment and to our planet,
not to mention our children's lives.
The National Food Strategy recommended that mandatory servings of meat be removed,
but the government has failed to incorporate this into it's food plan. OF COURSE IT HAS.
WELL WE CAN'T DO ANYTHING ABOUT THAT!
Far from it my friend, far from it.
You can take action now to ensure children are offered healthier, more environmentally friendly meals,
by urging your MP to write to the education secretary calling for the revision of the
School Food Standards.
Individual school caterers should have the freedom to meet children’s nutritional needs without
Urge Your MP to End the School Meat Mandate! Click HERE to do that now!
You can also sign the petition HERE!
The School Food Standards need to be updated and the 'mandatory servings of meat', (including fish) and dairy, NEED to be removed. Scrapping this requirement would be in line with the UK’s health goals,
climate science, and modern dietary choices.
THE GOVERNMENT WON'T DO ANYTHING!
They might not but YOU can. YOU don't have to partake in it and neither does your child.
Anyone can create positive change. It doesn't matter where you're from, what your background is
or what age you are. All it takes is a conversation.
Look at Greta Thunberg and Vanessa Nakate.
Look at Genesis Butler!
Genesis’s love for animals led her whole family to veganism and countless others around the world.
Watch her here. She was 10 when she did this Ted Talk. THIS is what 'making a change' looks like.
Read more about Genesis's incredible work HERE!
SO... YOUR KID'S SCHOOL?
Recently, I wrote to my child's school to suggest the incorporation of cruelty-free, plant-based meals to their menu and they were very accommodating. Within only a matter of days, one vegan option per week went from 4/5 options per week, including desserts and snacks.
I took a labelled tub of vegan sweets in so my kid can help himself whenever Birthdays or special occasions arise in the class or when non-vegan sweets (bought in by non-vegan parents) are given out.
I have even arranged for vegan biscuits to be given out during snack-times so that he is catered for at all times, just like the other children are.
I have also expressed my concerns about chick-hatching events, as well as trips to farms,
aquariums and circuses and the school have been very understanding and accommodating.
HOW DO YOU GET THE SCHOOL TO COOK VEGAN STUFF?!
Write to them. Go and see them. Arrange a meeting with them. Or just email them.
IS THAT IT?
Yep. If you want any further help with this, then just ASK ME. I can send you stuff.
(Go to my CONTACT page to message me)
If not, contact Laura Chepner!
WHO IS LAURA CHEPNER?
Laura is a qualified primary school teacher, SENCo and vegan-inclusive education consultant at
Primary Veducation. She is the UK’s first vegan inclusion education specialist and both parents and teachers can call upon Laura to provide a 'Veducation' at any school throughout the UK.
HAVE YOU WORKED WITH HER?
I have indeed and she's FAB!
She holds free vegan-inclusive CPD for all staff at your child's school and provides free consultancy
services and training for schools to improve their inclusion practices.
She will tweak the curriculum, provide long-term and short-term planning and her thorough explanation and clarification of what it means to be vegan from a child's perspective, will enlighten and inspire everyone involved, leaving everyone happy with the results.
She also shares language choices, food information, and useful topic ideas and teaches all things vegan in a friendly and informative way.
WHY DOES SHE DO THIS?
Because it's vital. A vegan child looks at the world through very different eyes to the majority.
For a school to be as inclusive as possible they must understand this perspective and differentiate accordingly.
You can drop Laura a line HERE!
I'd also like to recommend her BRILLIANT book to you (click the link) called,
‘Veducated! An Educator’s Guide for Vegan-Inclusive Teaching’.
I'd also like to introduce you to a company called PROVEG!
TV presenter and conservationist (and all-round legend)
Chris Packham has joined ProVeg UK’s pioneering School Plates programme
as an official Programme Ambassador, urging schools to introduce more plant-based options
on lunch menus. Here he is to tell you a bit more about it:
CLICK THE PICS below to download the booklets about
VEGAN INCLUSIVITY IN SCHOOLS from ProVeg and The Vegan Society
to discover what your school could do to better support your child during their time there.
WHAT IF MY KID'S SCHOOL DOESN'T WANT TO DO VEGAN OPTIONS?
(I DON'T WANT TO BE 'THAT' PARENT!)
Remember that veganism is now a protected belief (as legally required by the Equality Act 2010)
Every school is legally required to have vegan options.
Therefore, all schools have a duty, under the law, to make reasonable changes to ensure vegan pupils are not inadvertently or intentionally discriminated against.
I didn't want to be 'that parent' either but if it means supporting and protecting my child, as well as ending animal abuse where I can, I'll be 'that parent' all day long.
If your school is a little behind the times, you can add them to this MAP - and Vegan Inclusive Education
will write to your school (anonymously, if you'd rather not be involved) with lots of helpful information about steps they can take to make the school more vegan-inclusive.
Below are policies for the school to adhere to, to assist vegan-inclusion:
WHAT'S AN EXAMPLE OF NON-VEGAN INCLUSION THEN?
An example of non-vegan inclusion is when cow’s milk (for example) is being discussed as a 'recommended source of calcium' (when it's actually the opposite). A vegan pupil will know that the cow suffers to produce milk for human consumption. Depending on the age of the pupil, they may know that the cow was forcibly impregnated and her calf taken from her so that people can drink her milk, and that both cow and calf would be killed before their time.
They are also likely to know that drinking cow’s milk is actually damaging to our health as well as the environment - producing three times the CO2 emissions of soya milk.
Or the discussion of cows and sheep happily grazing in fields, living their 'best life'.
A vegan pupil may know that these animals live in crowded, filthy conditions and
suffer through painful procedures like branding, dehorning, debeaking (chicks), and having their tails
cut off (piglets) and their teeth sawed off - all without painkillers.
This knowledge can leave the vegan pupil feeling upset at the unwitting reminder of cruelty, and confused about why their teachers aren’t more aware of the environmental and health dangers, and why they didn’t mention other sources of calcium such as tofu and green vegetables.
A distressed pupil cannot learn as effectively, and will feel less secure in their school setting.
Should you want to write to your child's school yourself, like I did, then explain to them that having all meals/desserts made to the same standard as their current menu but without any animal products in them, would not only be more ethical (saving the lives of countless, innocent animals), and more sustainable (animal agriculture accounting for at least 87% of annual greenhouse gas emissions)
but it would also be considerably healthier for everyone - students and staff alike.
Plus, I imagine, a lot less expensive - particularly from a business perspective.
All schools should be educated about veganism as a protected belief and all pupils should be taught to understand the animal, environmental, and health reasons why people may choose vegan diets.
SO WHAT WILL VEGAN KIDS EAT AT SCHOOL THEN? LEAVES? SEEDS? SALAD?
Don't be silly. They will eat everything they eat now, just delicious plant-based versions.
My kid eats burgers, hot dogs, pasta, spaghetti & meatballs, chilli, jacket potatoes etc. etc.
He eats better than he does at home!
As long as it doesn't come from an animal, they can eat it (i.e. meat, eggs, honey and dairy 'products').
Think about it – there is only a handful of animal flesh that most people eat:
chicken, fish, beef, lamb, turkey, and pork.
Now consider all the plant-derived foods out there: beans, tomatoes, avocados, peas, pineapples, rice, almonds, blueberries, chickpeas, peppers, oats, pumpkins, potatoes, spinach, oranges, corn, mangoes, beetroots, carrots, broccoli, cauliflowers, aubergines, peanuts, grapes, lentils, courgettes, walnuts, olives, bananas, coconuts, cashews, peaches, chocolate (!), and on and on and on.
Think about the foods that you eat every day. Then, imagine ways that they could be 'veganised'.
Beef burritos become bean burritos, pasta with meat sauce becomes pasta with tomato sauce,
chilli con carne becomes chilli non carne, etc. Lots of foods can easily be veganised with simple substitutions of soya milk, plant-based butter, tofu, or vegan chicken or beef.
You, and your kids, are probably already eating lots of vegan foods, such as porridge, guacamole, bread, pasta, houmous, tortilla chips and salsa, vegetable soups, fruit smoothies, some Italian and Thai dishes and many others, without even realising it.
You probably already eat more vegan food than you do non-vegan food!
Are your kids fussy eaters?
Try some of these delicious, 'non-fussy' recipes from the BBC Good Food Guide including
kid-favourite meals such as vegan nuggets, Margherita pizza, vegan burgers, chocolate brownies and banana and peanut butter cupcakes!
Just one of many, many pages of recipes found online!
WHAT ABOUT WHEN I NEED TO MAKE THEM SOMETHING QUICK?
If you need something faster (I always do!) then check out the ABUNDANCE of quick, cruelty-free,
delicious, plant-based meals available today!
SO WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR ANYONE ELSE WHOSE KIDS WANT TO BE VEGAN OR
WHO WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT IT?
I thoroughly recommend the following videos by BITESIZEVEGAN on Youtube.
They're informative, kind, tactful and honest - perfect for children to watch and for them to learn about the animals they eat and where their food comes from.
The best thing when talking to kids about these topics, (and we should talk to them about these topics - we should have nothing to hide - they're going to find out sooner or later what happens to animals -
it may as well come from their trusted parent) is that they love to ask lots and lots of questions
so it's wise to do your research, know what you're talking about and to be prepared for any question.
Kids need to know that eating animals is bad for lots of reasons. It’s not healthy, and it kills billions of animals every year. It also takes food away from hungry people—food that could go to starving humans yet instead goes to feed animals, who are raised for meat.
Kids should never be patronised or talked down to and these videos explain everything clearly.
My son loved watching these. Take a look. You might learn something yourself too. I did.
Or watch these little legends show your little legends just how easy it is!
Here's vegan hero, Earthling Ed talking to a class of 10 year olds about veganism:
And here's two for the adults to watch. One by the brilliant Mayim Bialik (The Big Bang Theory) and one by the extraordinary nutritionist, Dr Michael Klaper.
You could also show them these child-friendly pictures below from PETA Kids:
Have you ever wondered where milk comes from?
I thoroughly recommend clicking this LINK to the parent's section of PETA's website and looking at the useful links there. There's so much useful information for parents here.
Like this one...
Have you ever heard of a 'wet market' before?
IN ONE SENTENCE THEN... WHY SHOULD MY KIDS BE VEGAN?
Because feeding our children dead animals is unnecessary, immoral, unethical and really, really bad for them, like it is for any human being and if you want your child to grow up into a compassionate, benevolent and kind individual, then teaching them to love, defend and respect every living being on earth
is a very good place to start!
Your question should be rather, ‘Why SHOULDN'T my kids be vegan?’
Hello! Lee Brace here! Award-winning actor, comedian, writer, photographer and vegan.
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org