There is an interesting article on BBC regarding a study that Dr. Lindsay Allen of the governmental agency, U.S. Agricultural Research Service (ARS), co-conducted. The study consisted of testing 500 malnourished African children’s diets (using one control group and three variable groups) to come to the conclusion that a vegan lifestyle is “unethical” (her words; not mine). Aside from the study being completely unethical, which I will go back to, there are other things that I find very wrong with this study:
- From the quotations in the BBC article, Dr. Allen appears to over exaggerate her findings, leading me to think that she is a biased scientist. Her strongly worded quotation, “There’s absolutely no question that it’s unethical for parents to bring up their children as strict vegans” is somewhat contradictory and unfounded when later the BBC article states, “She accepted that adults could avoid animal foods if they took the right supplements…” What Dr. Allen appears to be doing is confusing her opinion that a non-vegan lifestyle is ethical for children and the fact that adults can safely maintain a vegan lifestyle with the right supplements.
- The study was partially funded by the National Cattleman’s Beef Association.
- Okay, going back to the unethical. So, there is no doubt that the 500 children in the study are malnourished; the BBC article blatantly states this, “This meant they were already malnourished.” Instead of treating the children like lab specimens and not people, the right thing to do would be to refer the problem to either a non-profit or governmental agency that deals with world hunger issues.
- This study is extremely exploitive of African children and world hunger. If there were 500 malnourished American children, this study would not have been conducted.
I’m trying to think of a way that this is not exploitive and I see from the abstract that Dr. Allen and her team were researching vitamin B-12 deficiencies, which is stated as a growing, global health concern. So, I try to rationalize that maybe these children were only malnourished of vitamin B-12 and, otherwise, led a completely healthy life, but the BBC article states that their diet consisted of “low-nutrition corn and bean staples.” Hmm…
– Allison AKA ninjagarden