Opinion Brief

Vegan breast-feeding: A deadly crime?

A vegan couple faces neglect charges in France for feeding their malnourished baby only breast milk. Is the mother's diet to blame for her daughter's death?

A vegan couple, Sergine and Joel Le Moaligou, went on trial this week in France for neglect in the 2008 death of their 11-month-old daughter. The parents fed her only breast milk, and an autopsy found that the child suffered from a vitamin A and B12 deficiency — caused, prosecutors say, by the mother's diet. The couple had also ignored a doctor's advice to get the baby, Louise, treated in a hospital for bronchitis, trying natural remedies instead. Is it wrong to compound the parents' grief by putting them on trial? (Watch a discussion about the case.)

This is the wake-up call vegans need: Charging the parents "smacks of Big Brother," says Sarah Pope at The Healthy Home Economist. But maybe that's what it takes to "communicate a clear message to other vegans:  Abstinence from all animal foods is a danger to one's health and most particularly, your baby!" Vegan moms run a "huge risk" that they, and their breast milk, will lack B12 and other vital "nutrients only found in animal foods, such as true Vitamin A.""Baby breastfed by vegan mother dies"

Don't blame these parents: The "vegan police" are at it again, says Mike Adams at Natural News. Ninety percent of babies in France and America are deficient in at least one "crucial nutrient such as vitamin D, magnesium or zinc." The only reason these grieving parents are being threatened with 30 years in prison is anti-vegan bias. If they had fed their baby "junk infant formula," or stocked their cupboards with sugary cereals and donuts, nobody would have dreamed of arresting them."Vegan parents charged in death of baby raised on mother's milk; facing 30 years in prison"

They should be punished... but not for being vegans: This family "did make a deadly mistake with their baby," says April Peveteaux at The Stir. It wasn't veganism, and it wasn't breastfeeding — plenty of vegans "successfully breastfeed their babies." Their fatal error was ignoring "a doctor's advice" and trying to cure their infant daughter with clay baths and cabbage poultices instead of proven medicine. "Now they face jail time for neglect, and they should.""Vegan breastfeeder should be punished"

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