Two Australian parents are in hot water—but narrowly avoided prison time—after a judge chastised them for leaving their newborn gravely malnourished on a vegan diet, the BBC reports. Unnamed in media reports, the 30-something couple fed their 19-month-old rice, toast, potatoes, oats, and other vegan foods despite signs of ill-health. The girl's March 2018 seizure finally persuaded the mother to call emergency services, who found a listless child without teeth. "This child was severely malnourished, underweight and undersized and delayed as far as age-appropriate milestones were concerned," said judge, who called the baby's diet "completely inadequate."
The court heard a litany of heartbreaking facts, from the baby's lack of basic vitamins to her inability to crawl to her diagnosis of rickets—a skeletal disorder caused by lack of nutrition, per the New Zealand Herald. The father, who isn't vegan, claimed he was too busy as a provider to deal with the baby, while the mother told a doctor she was "just too exhausted" to drive the baby to a doctor. But the judge sentenced them both to an 18-month jail term to be served in the community, per 9 News. The mother silently wept and held her head in the Sydney courtroom. The baby has been getting medical and dietary care but is said to be traumatized by her regular blood tests. (On a more positive vegan note, Burger King is coming out with its Impossible Whopper.)