Vegan mother sentenced to life in prison

An infant fed exclusively on vegetable milk has died. His mother, a convinced vegan, was sentenced to life imprisonment after the death of her son who suffered from severe malnutrition. The opportunity to remember that this mode of feeding is unbalanced and dangerous for toddlers.

  Vegan mother sentenced to life in prison

Ezra was just 18 months old when he died in September 2019. T kings years later, at the end of August 2022, his mother, Sheila O'Leary, was sentenced to life imprisonment in the State of Florida in the United States . Justice reproaches him for having let die his son who succumbed to a state of severe malnutrition. The little boy was only fed with breast milk, dried fruits and vegetables. ' This child has not eaten enough. He starved to death after 18 months.' , explained Francine Donnorummo, head of the special victims unit at the Lee County State's Attorney's Office, during the trial of the mother, a hardline vegan. The other two children aged 3 and 5 of Sheila O'Leary and her husband are also malnourished and the father of the family will also have to answer for his actions in an upcoming trial.

In Belgium too, a couple was given a six-month suspended prison sentence. The reason ? Their 7-month-old baby died of dehydration and malnutrition, after being fed only plant milk between the ages of 3 and 7 months. These vegan diets, which are currently very fashionable, are attracting more and more families out of conviction, or for reasons of allergy or Lactose intolerance , But between 0 and 3 years old, an infant should not be fed exclusively plant-based drinks and such a diet requires prior knowledge and supervision by a pediatrician. Indeed, these products do not cover the needs for calcium, proteins, iron, zinc and vitamins D and K.

Authorities and doctors have been sounding the alarm for several years. After several reports of serious cases in children under the age of one fed partially or exclusively on vegetable drinks, the Francophone Society of Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism clearly states: The use of vegetable drinks in infants is nutritional abuse ! And for good reason : 'In infants, any insufficient intake of energy, proteins, lipids, minerals, vitamins or trace elements will have repercussions on growth and brain development which will be all the more severe the earlier the insufficient intake occurs. , significant and prolonged.'

The growth of the child is very important from its first months and must be developed by a balanced diet rich in nutrients. According to ANSES, breast milk is the food best suited to baby's nutritional needs. In the absence of feeding with milk or in addition to the latter, only infant formulas (first and second age milk authorized by the regulations) can cover the nutritional needs of the baby. Also, breast milk being of animal origin, it cannot be replaced by vegetable milk. Note that in case of intolerance to cow's milk, hypoallergenic formulas, in which the protein responsible for allergies has been removed, can be prescribed by doctors.

And once the child has grown up, specialists recommend in the case of a meatless diet, the intake of three proteins of animal origin such as eggs, milk and fish. When parents are informed and supplemented by child dietitians in this way, children have appropriate growth and physical development.