Vegan Couple Who Severely Malnourished Their Baby With Vegan Diet, Avoid Jail
Couple was sentenced on Thursday to an 18-month intensive corrections order
A vegan couple, who forced their baby into a meat-free diet resulting in the child being severely malnourished, has avoided jail.
The mother and father admitted failing to provide for a child, causing severe injury.
The couple was sentenced on Thursday to an 18-month intensive corrections order after they pleaded guilty.
They will also undertake 300 hours of community service, according to 7news.
The 20-month-old baby was left severely malnourished after the extreme vegan diet.
The baby has no teeth, weighed less than 5kg (11lbs) and could not stand up because of the diet.
The child developed rickets as a result of relying on oats and rice milk as part of a strict vegan diet.
The parents reportedly wiped away tears throughout the sentencing on Thursday, as Judge Sarah Huggett slammed the pair for being reckless in their parenting.
As the details of neglect were read out, the father could be heard sobbing loudly.
The girl was placed into o foster care in March last year after paramedics when she began having a fit.
Judge Huggett said both parents showed 'reckless failure to provide the necessities of life.'
Judge Huggett said the mother's obsession with being vegan put her daughter in 'considerable danger of injury falling short of death.'
According to neighbors, they saw only the girl's two older brothers playing int he yard and were not aware of a third child.
The child has since gained more than 12kg.
The extent of her malnourishment was revealed in a statement by a by a foster carer:
'For the first 19 months of her life (the girl) did not receive the basic care to grow and develop,' the carer said in her statement during the sentencing hearing.
'[The girl] was defenseless and unable to protect herself from her parents.'
The carer encountered the child when she was 19 months old but weighed less than 5kg.
the child had no teeth, and could not sit up or rollover.
'Caring for [the girl] was like caring for a very young baby,' the carer said.
But the child has made progress.
'The gains have not come easily,' the carer said.
'This crime has had a long-term impact on her development.'
The mother informed a hospital dietitian her entire family followed a vegan diet, detailing the extreme eating measures that led to the child's ordeal.
Earlier this year in a similar similar case, a vegan couple from Florida were charged with neglect for starving their 5-month-old baby boy close to death after they refused to give him a doctor-prescribed formula, instead opting to feed him a mashed potato concoction they found on the Internet because it was "more consistent with their lifestyle."
The parents, Julia French, 20, and Robert Buskey, 31, of Titusville, Florida, were arrested after investigators found the infant had barely gained any weight since birth.
The baby weighed only 8 pounds, 8 ounces after being recorded at birth at 7 pounds, 9 ounces, according to local news reports.