- - GREAT WHITE SHARKS AND SMALL BLACK PIRANHAS
- Picture yourself in a body of water
filled with hungry predators. Your
chances of survival hover between slim
and none. That's when you scrape your
leg on coral, and begin to bleed. Your
scent fills their environment with the
most inviting message: feeding time.
The past few days, the New York media
has participated in a feeding frenzy
on all things named VEGAN, and those
eating a plant-based diet have lacked
the teeth to bite back.
A New York couple nearly starved their
20-month-old daughter to death. Headlines
in New York newspapers called the diet
VEGAN. Radio talk shows criticized plant
based diets. Television news shows and talk
shows provided their own commmentary on the
tragedy that was billed as "A VEGAN Diet
I was fortunate enough to be given the
opportunity to set the record straight.
I accepted an invitation from a New York
organization called Vegetarian Vision
(H.K. Shah and Harshad Parekh) to appear
as their television spokesperson on
WABC television interviewed me for five
minutes, and asked questions like:
"Is VEGANISM a religion?
"What are examples of VEGAN foods?"
I was happy to set the record straight.
I recognized that all I would get was a 15-20
second snippet. When doing telivision interviews,
heavily edited segment include mere sound bites.
One has no control over what occurs during
post-production, and the final edited version
is rarely satisfying to the person who was
interviewed. My five minutes became 15 seconds,
and I wish that more of the important things
that I said had been included, but one must
be thankful for little things.
The ABC segment began by casting a shadow over
the VEGAN lifestyle, but fairly presented my
position, and difused much of the negative
bad press. Unlike other shows that I have done
in the past, I was satisfied after watching
the news segment as it aired on 4/30/02 at 5:10 PM.
MY SEGMENT OF THE BROADCAST
REPORTER MARCUS SOLIS:
"The Swintons were vegan, a stricter form
of vegetarianism that often excludes all
animal products including dairy, but an
author on the lifestyle says the couple's
behavior is not typical."
"The child was not eating a vegan diet.
This child was fed every day rancid
cod liver oil, and I say rancid because
it's taken out of a cod's liver and put
into a bottle. This is not a vegan diet."
REPORTER MARCUS SOLIS:
"Both Cohen and doctors agree, healthy
babies can be raised follwoing vegetarian,
even vegan diets, but doing so requires
vigilence by the parents."
According to a complaint filed with the court,
the child had:
"...decreased muscle bulk, no teeth,
de-mineralized bones and multiple healing
fracture of the left radius...and no ability
to verbalize other than through soft crying."
This tragic story was about one couple and their
child, Joseph and Sylvia Swinton and little Ice.
Their ignorance led to a severely injured child.
The media's ignorance led to a culturally
injured understanding of the VEGAN lifestyle.
The headlines should never have called her diet
ABC news set the record straight.