By Published On: 22 May 2009231 words1.2 min read

A 29 year old Belguim woman, Séverine Gérard, and her 2 year old son, Elie, went France to stay with friends.  Somehow (the article doesn’t explain how) she was accused by the local authorities of sleeping on the beach, which she has denied.  And since she doesn’t technically have a residence here since she didn’t have a residence (since she was staying with friends) she was also called “itinerant” (homeless).

Sometime around March 23rd, Elie was taken away from his mother at a city soup kitchen.  The charge was parental neglect, because she is vegan and would not feed her child any animal products.  Séverine has said that she went to the soup kitchen to meet people, because in Belgium this is where intellectuals congregate.  She has also said she still breastfeeds her child.  Still the authorities (and a judge) have claimed her unfit and placed the child in fostercare.

The article goes on to talk about how the mother goes on a 3 week hunger strike to get her child back, goes to his foster home to forcefully take her child back to finally ending up in a padded cell with no contact to the outside world.

And the only charges that the authorities claimed is homelessness and veganism.

I am speechless.  Maybe I won’t be taking that trip to Paris after all…..

You can read the full article here.

By Published On: 22 May 2009231 words1.2 min read

A 29 year old Belguim woman, Séverine Gérard, and her 2 year old son, Elie, went France to stay with friends.  Somehow (the article doesn’t explain how) she was accused by the local authorities of sleeping on the beach, which she has denied.  And since she doesn’t technically have a residence here since she didn’t have a residence (since she was staying with friends) she was also called “itinerant” (homeless).

Sometime around March 23rd, Elie was taken away from his mother at a city soup kitchen.  The charge was parental neglect, because she is vegan and would not feed her child any animal products.  Séverine has said that she went to the soup kitchen to meet people, because in Belgium this is where intellectuals congregate.  She has also said she still breastfeeds her child.  Still the authorities (and a judge) have claimed her unfit and placed the child in fostercare.

The article goes on to talk about how the mother goes on a 3 week hunger strike to get her child back, goes to his foster home to forcefully take her child back to finally ending up in a padded cell with no contact to the outside world.

And the only charges that the authorities claimed is homelessness and veganism.

I am speechless.  Maybe I won’t be taking that trip to Paris after all…..

You can read the full article here.

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  1. laura June 19, 2009 at 5:32 pm - Reply

    hi

    i’m also french and vegan: see, does happen

    not easy though.

    i live in london, where it is much easier: you still get queer questions if you have a child, mind

    but this situation is unreal.

    you remember what’s been happening in the uk, recently? perhaps this is just going in the opposite direction, too far.

  2. Alex May 22, 2009 at 4:13 pm - Reply

    By the way, I forgot to mention that I am French AND vegan

  3. Alex May 22, 2009 at 4:11 pm - Reply

    I just read the original article on americanchronicle.com.

    This story is sad (at least that’s how http://www.americanchronicles.com puts it) however, this doesn’t justify by any means for the writer to say that ‘French people for the most part don’t like foreigner’.

    Putting labels on people is not only utterly narrow-minded and fairly stupid, but quite dangerous, especially when done on a news website. Saying that French people for the most part don’t like foreigners is as stupid as going out and saying that Americans all have the same point of view as Georges W. Bush.

    “being for the most part linguistically isolated, the French believe what their media tell them”.

    As far as I understand it, this writer is also ‘linguistically isolated in France’ (apparently even tho this is where he lives, he didn’t even bother learning French) so what the hell does he know? Big news: North America does not have the monopole of ‘intellectuals’.

    Moreover, the power of media does not only operate in France and French, do not have the monopole of gullibility and thickness.

    What police and government do does not represent the general feeling in France and to be quite fair, if it did, their would be nowhere near as many protests and anger in the streets. In case you don’t know this, the current president, Sarkozy, is far from being popular.

    No, it is not easy to be vegan in France. The culinary heritage is very strong and people are very proud of the way that they eat, like anywhere else they don’t like to be told they are doing wrong. But I believe that little by little people will get to understand the reasons of veganism, there is no point in forcing it into people, getting aggressive when this doesn’t work and giving shit back.

    Please do not let this put you off visiting a city as beautiful as Paris, that would be YOUR big loss.

  4. Danica (VeganMama) May 22, 2009 at 12:21 pm - Reply

    I can’t even form a coherent sentence over this. Freaking unbelievable.