Is it justified to put children on a vegetable diet? That question arises, now that a Swedish couple has been sentenced to three months in prison because a diet of breast milk, cabbage, potatoes, carrots, rice, and fruit has almost killed their daughter.
The parents chose to only serve vegan food to their 1.5-year-old child. Now they are both sentenced to jail for bodily harm. “There has been worrying information about the parents’ ideological foundation of people’s need for food”, writes the district court in the verdict.
The child ended up in an irresponsible nutritional composition with life-threatening complaints at the emergency department of the children’s hospital in Gothenburg. The little child, according to Swedish doctors, “has just narrowly escaped death.”
According to the vegan parents of the severely malnourished girl, “all other food is poison.” They acknowledged that their child had contracted a vitamin deficiency, but thought they could compensate for the long-term deficiency by hugging the child and making her smile.
The case of the undernourished child has received national attention after the vegan father said, among other things, that “she gets sunshine, laughter, and hugs” instead of nutritional supplements. After the 1.5-year-old daughter lost consciousness in February earlier this year, her parents took her to Queen Silvia’s children’s hospital. There, doctors found that the reason was that the daughter had not had enough nutrition.
“She was malnourished, severely malnourished and narrowly escaped death… Since she was so malnourished from the beginning, she had no reserves to take and that was why she became so terribly sick,” one of the doctors complained bitterly.
Deficiency in vegan diets
Now, it is clear that the parents are sentenced to three months’ imprisonment for causing bodily injury. However, in the judgment, the district court clarifies that the goal is about malnutrition and not that the parents wanted to serve vegan food.
“This case is not about the issue of people in general and children, in particular, can get adequate nutrition through a vegan diet… It may, on the contrary, be considered to be general knowledge that such a diet is enough to feed the children as well as adults, let be the restrictions that the diet is some knowledge-intensive challenges,” writes the district court.
Hanna Eneroth, the nutritionist at the National Food Administration, confirmed the above-mentioned attitude. “Even if you eat normally and do not exclude certain foods, there are risks. But at the same time, there are some substances that simply are not found in vegan diets, B12 is such a substance, she said in an earlier interview with Metro.
The district court attaches great importance to the parents’ ideological conviction. It has emerged, among other things, that the child’s mother considered that it is possible to survive only on air – a diet called “Inedia.”
The attitude to people’s need for food is “worrying” the district court stated. “These data may spread a light of the explanation of what the child has been exposed to,” writes the verdict.
Believe in untrue things
because of the ideological beliefs of the parents, they are considered to be criminally liable, and the District Court could not see in its judgment that any mitigating circumstances existed in the case. Although no evil intention has been found with the act, the District Court states that the parents should have been able to realize that their ideological beliefs were wrong and that they have placed their daughter in a “life-threatening starving state.”
“Thus, it is not a discharge or a mitigating circumstance for NN and NN that, like literal believers, religious persons consciously choose to believe in things that they objectively have the ability and opportunity to realize are untrue,” the District Court writes.