Earlier this month, two Australian parents, aged 32 and 34, pleaded guilty to "failing to provide for a child and causing serious injury" after the strict vegan diet they chose for their 19-month-old daughter resulted in severe malnourishment as well as several other illnesses.
According to The Daily Telegraph, the parents allegedly kept their daughter on a strict regimen:
"...a cup of oats with rice milk and half a banana for breakfast, followed by a piece of toast with jam or peanut butter for lunch. The girl would then eat tofu, rice or potatoes for her evening meal, but because she was a "fussy eater" she would sometimes just have oats again."
Do not do this https://t.co/6KFOUY9VSW— Mark D Jackson (@Mark D Jackson)1545889665.0
The lack of vitamin D in the young girl's diet led to rickets, a degenerative bone disease that left her so "brittle" that doctors were afraid to handle her. She had suffered small fractures throughout her entire body.
@AupolNews Should be jailed for child abuse. 10 years minimum and never get the kid back.— Alex Hidell (@Alex Hidell)1545834812.0
@GHGGuru Child abuse— Stephanie Holbrook (@Stephanie Holbrook)1545865568.0
Authorities also revealed that the girl had negligible levels of "calcium, vitamin B12, vitamin A, iron and zinc," and that she did not crawl or speak during the month they kept her in their care.
@AupolNews Rickets is something you saw in pre industrial Europe and England, not a modern wealthy country like Aus… https://t.co/FNrXI78TSG— Lynette (@Lynette)1545818563.0
When questioned by police at the hospital, the girl's father said he was previously unconcerned that she weighed just 10 pounds because he assumed "she was a girl and different to boys—she was petite."
Some folks shouldn’t have kids https://t.co/394XRv2Rrn— HokieNYC (@HokieNYC)1545794289.0
Investigators also quickly discovered that the young girl had received no vaccines or immunizations, had no appointments booked with a physician, and that she wasn't issued a birth certificate.
@AupolNews @pleaseuseaussie How can adults be so dumb?— violence not allowed no lefies no shit (@violence not allowed no lefies no shit)1545826174.0
@Newsweek Anti vaxxers and vegans. Lovely.— Fear&Bullets (@Fear&Bullets)1545660886.0
The young girl has two older brothers, which the parents admitted were also on a strict vegan diet. All three children have been removed from their parents' custody and placed in foster care, where, with proper nutrition, the girl has already gained 13 pounds and is able to stand on her own.
@GHGGuru Very sad that any parent can be led astray by any ideology this badly.— Patrick Kuehner (@Patrick Kuehner)1545623130.0
Nutritionists are quick to note that a vegan diet can be healthy for a child as long parents are careful to include all the vitamins, minerals, and calories needed to support a rapidly growing body. "Iron, protein, calcium, A, B, C, and D vitamins, and Omega 3," as well as a high level of caloric fuel, are all essential to growing into a healthy young child!
@GHGGuru @LIHF_Living Heartbreaking. So glad the little one is doing better and is finally getting the nutrients she needs 😕— Julie (@Julie)1545667773.0
The vegan couple will appear in Downing Centre District Court in January for sentencing, at which point they might be forced to adhere to a strict diet of their own: whatever's being served in prison.