Vegan Parents Charged With Neglect After Baby Dies Of Malnutrition

Illustration for article titled Vegan Parents Charged With Neglect After Baby Dies Of Malnutrition

The vegan parents of a breast-fed 11-month baby who died from vitamin deficiency are on trial for neglect in Northern France.

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Sergine and Joel Moaligou face up to 30 years for "neglect or food deprivation followed by death." Says Breitbart,

The ambulance workers called the police because the child was pale and thin, weighing 5.7 kilos (12.5 pounds) compared to an average eight kilos for her age. The baby had only been fed on the milk of her mother, who was aged 37 at the time. An autopsy showed that Louise was suffering from a vitamin A and B12 deficiency which experts say increases a child's sensitivity to infection and can be due to an unbalanced diet.

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As the prosecutor says, "The problem of vitamin B12 deficiency could be linked to the mother's diet." Which makes it sound as though this is by no means open and shut. And obviously countless vegan parents breastfeed with no problem whatsoever. That said, just as a layman following the distressing case, it seems that if the parents — who you'd think would be grieving enough — are liable for this, shouldn't an attending physician be, as well? It seems like at most this tragedy would be an opportunity to educate new mothers about nutrition — not a chance to assign blame. But the law doesn't always agree.

French Vegans In Dock Over Baby's Death [Breitbart]

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DISCUSSION

I don't really see this as vilifying veganism. The breastmilk lacked vitamins that are commonly lacking in a vegan diet. Veganism is being brought up because it's directly relevant.

It's not that vegans are crazy for eating the way they do. Most vegan diets are probably healthier, for adults, than most omnivore's diets. But... you can't really get B12 from plant sources. And there are some other things you need to watch. Pregnancy and breastfeeding can be done vegan and healthfully. But, fact of the matter is, a vegan diet, unfortified, is indeed insufficient nutrition for a growing child.

Breastfeeding mothers on ANY kind of restrictive diet need to take extra that their diet will provide all the nutrients their children need.