You’d Lie Too If You Were In His Place

New York’s Times Union recently profiled the Civic family, which is notable to the newspaper largely due to its vegan lifestyle. But the adults in the Civic family seem to have little problem lying to their children to promote that lifestyle.

Consider this odd exchange,

And he [11-year-old Aaron Civic] offers examples.

“Other countries do eat a lot of fish, like China.”

“No, in China they have a rice-based diet,” his father, Jed, says. “That’s part of their dinner plate.”

In fact, per capita consumption of fish in China is actually higher than it is in the United States. During the period 1999-2001, annual per capita consumption of fish in the United States was 47.0 pounds. During the same period, annual per capita consumption of fish in mainland China was 56.0 pounds. In Hong Kong, it was an astounding 127.9 pounds.

Saying that China has a rice-based diet is a bit like saying that the U.S. has a wheat-based diet. From 1994-96, for example, average annual per capita rice consumption in China was 160.0 pounds. In 1997, annual per capita wheat consumption in the United States was 147 pounds.

And this from a man who, along with his wife Susan, wrote a book in 1997 called a copy of The Vegetarian Traveler.

I could care less what sort of diet Civic raises his kids on, but this is a bit more troubling,

A vegetarian magazine once featured Susan for remaining vegan while pregnant. And after some research and discussion with doctors, the couple decided not to vaccinate the children, because Jed says some of the immunizations are tested on animals or are derived from them.

While Jed should, to be consistent with his ideology, not take any medications tested on animals, to force that risk upon his children seems extreme. And, of course, since effective vaccination requires a certain percentage of the population to be vaccinated, Jed is imposing risks on other children his come into contact with while also free riding on their parents having their children vaccinated.

And the risk to the Civic children will not pass after they have become adults. Occasionally measles and other childhood disease breakouts occur in the United States, especially where vaccination rates have fallen to low levels. Adults who have not been vaccinated are also susceptible to contracting diseases such as measles when those outbreaks occur.

Something to chew on. Jennifer Gish, TimesUnion.Com, January 4, 2006.

Fisheries of the United States – 2004. National Marine Fisheries Service, 2004.