They said parents who place their children on such restrictive diets should be prosecuted.
“It is not medically recommended and even forbidden to subject a child, especially during periods of rapid growth, to a potentially destabilizing diet,” reads the legal opinion published Thursday by The Royal Academy of Medicine of Belgium, the Telegraph first reported.
Belgian doctors said that the animal fats and amino acids found in meat and dairy, both excluded in veganism, are vital for growth. Older children could possibly tolerate a vegan diet, authorities said, but only if it were accompanied by supplements and regular medical supervision. To raise children otherwise, the authorities concluded, would be unethical.
Currently, 3 percent of Belgian children are vegan, the Telegraph reported.
The public denouncement was prompted by government official Bernard Devos, following a string of deaths in Belgian day-care centers, schools and hospitals. The opinion will make it easier, legally, for Devos to separate children from parents who insist on the diet.
In 2017, two Belgium parents were convicted following the death of their 7-month-old baby. The infant subsisted on a gluten-free, lactose-free diet and weighed less than 10 pounds when it passed, the Independent reported at the time.
In America, pet owners have been called unethical for imposing veganism on pets.
Last month, an anti-vegan protester ate a raw squirrel outside a vegan festival.