A Reddit user has admitted she's secretly been feeding animal products to her nine-year-old vegan nephew.
The woman made the confession in a post titled AITA [am I the a**hole] for feeding my vegan nephew meat? in the 'anti-vegan' subreddit.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the target audience of that specific forum, the answers are largely supportive.
Feeding meat to a vegan child
"My sister has been vegan for many years and she is also raising her son vegan," says the post. "He has been vegan since birth. My nephew and son attend the same school so I pick them up from school every day. My nephew has snacks and dinner at my house every weekday before his mom comes to pick him up.
"I usually make a dish for my family and a separate vegan dish for my nephew. A couple of months ago I left them with their homework and snacks and went to do some chores, came back and found my nephew and son sharing chicken nuggets.
"I provided him with vegan snacks, but he still ate the chicken nuggets. I told him those weren't vegan, and he told me he that he eats meat in school sometimes. His friends share their meals with him sometimes. I thought about telling my sister but decided not to."
The Reddit user says she has continued to offer the child options, and he 'usually' opts for the non-vegan choice, adding: "I know my sister would freak out if she knew he's eating meat...My husband thinks IATA for not telling her and being dishonest, but I think my nephew is old enough to make his own dietary choices (he's 10 this year). So, AITA? Should I tell my sister what's going on?"
As the post was shared in a section of the site called 'anti-vegan', responses were supportive of the woman, with one user saying: "Well, technically, you're not feeding him meat, you're still giving him a vegan option, he's just choosing non-vegan. And does she pay you for vegan food to feed him? If not, screw her. Why should YOU have to use your money because SHE insists he has a 'special' diet?"
"I bet you he subconsciously realizes that meat makes him feel better, more energy, less tired and seems to go for it every occasion he can," another added. "Probably also tastes way better, most vegan food is incredibly bland and limited."
The subject can be a complicated one, according to Francesca, who has a 20-month-old child who has been vegan since birth.
"If I found out that someone had been feeding my daughter at the age she is now, meat or dairy, they would lose the opportunity to spend any time with her, because I can't trust them," she told Plant Based News.
"In this particular circumstance the child is nine, and says he's eating meat at school, in which case, I would hope I could trust that person to come to me and say 'look, he accidentally ate some chicken nuggets, he says he eats them at school, you need to have a conversation with him'.
"It's tricky because at the age of nine, you can't force someone to do something. You can feed them a certain way at home, but you can't monitor everything they eat outside the house.
"In addition, I also wouldn't necessarily expect an omnivore to feed my child a meal and snacks every day that's vegan - I would likely to provide at least some of the food, otherwise, I'd feel like I was asking a lot of someone else.
"Ultimately, having someone else look after your child requires an incredible amount of trust and respect, and if there's any sense I couldn't trust someone with my child, I wouldn't have them look after them."