Adopting a child that's in need of a home is one of the most selfless and loving decisions a person can make -- but in Greece, having a big heart means nothing if you don't eat meat. A vegetarian couple from the island of Crete recently had their adoption application rejected on the grounds that they might impose their diet on their adoptive child, because they say that a child's upbringing must include eating meat. There's just one problem though: that's not true at all.After filing paperwork towards adopting a child, the would-be parents got back a letter from social services informing them that their application had been rejected because of concerns that the child would be raised as a vegetarian, like them. The head of the Crete's welfare services offered the disappointed couple the following explanation:
"We asked the University of Crete medical school on the issue and they said the child's diet must include meat, fish, etc. We do not discriminate but we were obliged to check this out. The issue is now in the hands of the judicial authorities."
The couple have petitioned to have the rejection overturned, saying that the ruling based on their diet was "unacceptable and anachronistic."
Truth is, millions of children have been raised into healthy adulthood as vegetarians -- and they might actually be healthier than their meat-eating peers. Studies have shown repeatedly that vegetarian men and woman can reduce their risk of an early death by 50 and 30 percent, respectively. Dietitians say that the important nutrients growing bodies require can easily be gained by providing children with plenty of nuts and seeds, and high-protein foods like tofu and eggs.