16 May Using veganism to sensationalise tragedy
The Financial-Legal-Military-Industrial-Meat-Medical-Pharmaceutical-Media Complex
“Toddler Fed VEGAN diet so malnourished, she had no teeth, Court told”
Sydney Morning Herald
“Sydney Toddler fed VEGAN diet so malnourished, she couldn’t sit up, Court hears”
“VEGAN zealot parents’ neglect left baby girl with no teeth”
“Child starved by VEGANS is now obese ‘through fear it will happen again’”
“Parents face court over neglect of child on VEGAN only diet”
“VEGAN child weighed 5kg and had no teeth”
Coffs Coast Advocate
“Carer lays bare the tragic long-term impact of VEGAN parents’ neglect on their baby”
Anyone unlucky enough to subscribe to Google Alerts for the word ‘Vegan’ were privy to a deluge of ‘Child Neglect’ articles one unpleasant morning last week. A genuinely horrible and heartbreaking case of abuse emerged from Sydney’s suburbs, where we learned a toddler was taken to hospital in March 2018 after suffering a seizure. When admitted to hospital, it was discovered her height and weight were markedly low for her age. Cue report after report, telling the harrowing tale of a shocking case of a malnourished little girl. It made for grim reading.
Unfortunately, there are no prizes for spotting the mandatory buzzword in each headline. One can only imagine the memo coming from the writers’ respective bosses: Reporters, whatever you do, make sure the word VEGAN is in the headline.
When this little girl was admitted to hospital, a rightful outcry soon ensued. She presented with severe problems, shockingly small and underweight, underdeveloped, and what one doctor described as ‘floppy’.
The finger is pointed decisively and universally at the ‘Vegan diet’ her mother provided.
A little further into their article, Metro.co.uk report that the toddler had a diet consisting of “oats, potatoes, rice, tofu, bread, peanut butter and rice milk.”
Within the article, metro.co.uk reveal that it was also discovered that the child had never been vaccinated, and hadn’t seen a doctor since the days after her birth. Neighbours also reported they ‘did not even know she existed for a long time’.
The article also explains that the baby’s mother was following a very limited diet in what they justifiably describe as “extreme eating measures”:
From the beginning the baby’s mother did not co-operate with the health services, discharging herself three hours after giving birth.
News.com.au paints a bleak picture of home life, reporting that the father (not a vegan, rendering a few of these headlines even more inaccurate) maintained that the relationship between himself and his wife had broken down, and that the only time their youngest child fell seriously ill, her father called triple-0. In an investigation into the girls medical history, doctors found an absence of immunisations, no follow-up check ups after she was born and no birth certificate or Medicare number.
It is clear that there is much more than a terrible diet at play in this household, but from these screaming headlines, you would be forgiven for assuming otherwise. It’s insensitive to delve too deeply into a problematic family environment, so let’s just stick to the vegan references.
Let’s be clear: this diet is wholly unsuitable for a baby, child, teenager, adult or elderly person. This diet is dangerously inadequate in nutrients, vitamins and minerals.
Let’s look at that list of foods again:
Oats, potatoes, rice, tofu, bread, peanut butter and rice milk.
As a vegan, even reading that list makes one feel sick. Is it any wonder that an extremely limited handful of bland foods which happen to be ‘vegan’, contributed towards the terrible circumstances this child has found herself in? That her meals consisted only of these ingredients, with no access to a healthful rainbow of colourful nutrient-rich vegetables: no cruciferous plants, collards or leafy greens to be seen. It is zero wonder this child was in such a woeful state of health.
The culprit here is not veganism. It is a poorly-planned diet, a lack of understanding of basic nutrition on the mother’s part, and a lack of accountability for the health and wellbeing of their daughter. A plant-based diet has been approved by many of the major health organisations as being appropriate for any stage of life, providing that they are well-planned.
The American Dietetic Association has a clear position on this: “Appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes”.
It’s worth highlighting that a badly-planned diet that happens to include animal products would also have presented a wealth of problems to an infant. Feeding a young child from a narrow range of ingredients, none of them being vegetables, is not at all advisable. However for the purposes of clicks, it is far more lucrative to paint veganism as the Bad Guy.
Slapping ‘vegan’ onto a negative headline is desirable at this point in time because most of society still isn’t sold on the idea of aligning their already-held beliefs with their actions. The dominant ideology of animal products being natural, normal and necessary is a concept they are invested in, so any headline requiring a continuation of the status quo will be well received. Couple that with the important and emotional topic of child nutrition and you’ve got a highly effective scare tactic that is sure to frighten concerned parents out of pursuing the notion any further.
A wealth of useful information on raising children to be healthy, happy vegans can be found at the following links:
We’ll wrap this up with just a handful of the millions of healthy child-friendly plant-based recipes available online. The below images sourced from thekindcook.com Our love, respect, and admiration goes out to all the parents out there raising their children to be healthy, thoughtful and conscious young vegans. We are sorry the media very irresponsibly contributes to any possible negative and uneducated judgment you may receive.