A Sydney, Australia, couple faces community service for feeding their infant daughter a strict vegan diet — almost killing her.
The unnamed thirty-somethings escaped the 18 months of sentenced incarceration, getting away with some community service and courses on parents and nutrition. Their now three-year-old daughter was so malnourished that at 19 months, she weighed less than 11 pounds. Her bones stopped developing after birth, and she hadn’t even grown teeth.
The little girl was fed solely bananas, oats, peanut butter and jelly, potatoes, and rice. Her birth was not registered, and she had received no vaccinations. Judge Sarah Huggett called the diet “completely inadequate,” saying:
This is not the case of an isolated act or omission or a momentary decision made in a pressured context, that led to a danger of serious injury to their child. Neither offender was particularly young, immature, uneducated or inexperienced as a parent or caregiver to young children.
The fact is that the daughter was their third child and each had experience with babies and their transition to toddler-hood and then young children.
Nevertheless, Huggett said she believes that the actions, while irresponsible, were not made with malicious intent. Both pleaded guilty to failing to provide necessities in life and causing injury to the child.
For now, their daughter has been placed in the care of another family member and is slowly recovering. She has received proper vaccinations and is participating in both speech therapy and physiotherapy. Her now-separated parents have, however, been granted visitation.