Vegan Children: The moral debate

Alexandra_Refenes_z3463041_MDIA2002_F10A_Assessment Task Four Step One

 Assessment Task Four: Media Analysis Article Two

Preliminary Proposal

The following proposal briefly summarizes my analysis of several journalism articles regarding vegan children. It is my intention to compare and identify how they position the reader to either favour or oppose this contentious issue. In addition, I shall analyse how different characters are portrayed in each text as either negative or positive influences with respect to my chosen subject.

Veganism is an alternative, plant-based diet that excludes the consumption and use of all animal products including meat, dairy, eggs and honey. Growing in popularity, this lifestyle choice has recently been placed under scrutiny as many parents are choosing to raise their young children on this strict diet. Moral and ethical debate has inevitably sparked in society regarding the health and welfare of children, whilst questioning the parenting skills of many.

I have found four particular articles online that provide comparative views of this social issue:

  1. http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/parenting/babies/vegan-mum-who-allegedly-fed-baby-only-fruits-and-nuts-charged/news-story/44dc79d095c0cdef8b8e5b3699578899
  2. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2016/07/11/italian-baby-fed-vegan-diet-hospitalized-for-malnutrition/
  3. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/07/10/italian-baby-kept-on-vegan-diet-taken-into-care-after-being-foun/
  4. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3858060/Raising-vegan-baby-Theres-right-way-wrong-way.html

Published in October this year, article number one reports how “a vegan mum who allegedly fed her baby only fruits and nuts has been arrested and charged”. The father of the child took the 11-month-old to a local Child and Youth Services organisation in Pennsylvania. A pediatrician claims that the child was suffering from a severe rash and in risk of septic shock. This article shines a negative light on the mother whilst the child is seen as the victim.

The second article from The Washington Post was published in July this year and discusses the hospitalization of an Italian baby who has been removed from parental custody after being raised on a vegan diet. Similar to the above article, administering a vegan diet for young children is reviewed as an unfit lifestyle choice. The author draws upon professional medical advice to support their argument that veganism is not appropriate for children, as they do not receive necessary vitamins and nutrients that are vital for growth. The article also includes columnist advice from different sources that approve plant-based diets in general can be good for children. Providing that parents have undertaken adequate research to ensure that their children are getting the calories and nutrients that they need.

The third article specifically discusses the news story of the Italian baby who was fed a vegan diet by his parents and taken to hospital for malnourishment. Published in July this year, it includes specific facts about the case and mentions the hospitalization of other children in Italy over the past 18 months.

Finally, the fourth article, also published in October this year, is titled “Is it safe to raise a baby as a vegan? Experts reveal whether the plant-based diet can be healthy for young children”. This particular news story discusses the contentious issue by including information for and against the chosen lifestyle choice. It alludes to the hospitalization of vegan babies in Italy (as discussed in the above articles) and draws upon the story of Pennsylvania mother Elizabeth Hawk who was charged with endangering her 11-month-old son by restricting him to a vegan diet. This story provides both for and against argumentation regarding vegan diets for children by drawing upon professional opinions.

With respect to this data, I anticipate that each author will rely on authoritative opinion and facts to back up their given viewpoint. It is my intention to draw upon such conclusions and compare how different media outlets portray various social issues and people. The overall layout of my analysis will begin by introducing the topic and then proceed to individually dissect each article to determine how the authors position the reader to agree with or disapprove the discussed issue. I will then conclude by drawing upon similarities and comparing differences between each text.

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