French vegans charged with child neglect after baby's death
Two vegans whose 11-month-old baby daughter died from vitamin deficiency after drinking only its mother's milk have gone on trial in northern France, charged with child neglect.
French prosecutors allege the vitamin deficiency may have been linked to the mother's diet Photo: ALAMY
By Henry Samuel, Paris 5:18PM BST 29 Mar 2011
Sergipe and Joel Le Moaligou, who eat no animal products, called the emergency services in March, 2008, when their baby Louise appeared listless.
By the time the ambulance arrived at their home in Saint-Maulvis, north of Paris, she was already dead.
Louise weighed just 12lb, compared to an average 17.5lb for a child her age, and was deathly pale.
An autopsy showed that Louise was suffering from a vitamin A and B12 deficiency, which experts say increases a child's sensitivity to infections
French prosecutors allege the vitamin deficiency may have been linked to the mother's diet, and say that the couple also failed to follow medical advice to hospitalise the baby, who was suffering from bronchitis.
The parents, who also have a 13-year-old daughter who did not suffer vitamin deficiencies, became vegan after seeing "a television programme about how cattle were taken to abattoirs," said Stéphane Daquo, the mother's lawyer.
"They preferred applying clay or cabbage poultices whose recipes they found in their books. These are people who read the wrong thing at the wrong time," said Mr Daquo.
The parents are still vegan and "are completely aware of the mistake they made," said the father's lawyer, Patrick Quenel.
If convicted, the couple could face up to 30 years in prison.
Is a Mother (or parents) responsible if her diet (vegan or omni or whatever) directly contributes to her child's death? What if she suffers from an eating disorder like anorexia? Do the underlying reasons matter (like a vegan diet), or is it neglect regardless because their child died while in their care?