“I’ve never seen a child to this level, this close to possible death.”
The vegan parents of a Florida infant were accused of nearly starving their son to death by feeding him nothing but a potato-based recipe they found on the internet.
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The baby weighed 7 pounds, 9 ounces at birth. When the five-month-old was discovered by investigators he weighed only 8 pounds, 8 ounces.
Titusville, Florida police have jailed Julia French, 20, and Robert Buskey, 31 after an investigation prompted by the Department of Children and Families. The couple is charged with neglect with great harm.
An investigator who spoke with local ABC affiliate WFTV said the baby’s eyes were sunken and his ribs were visible. “At one point, when the child was doing good and healthy and gaining weight, he was on an organic formula and they changed it on their own,” said Titusville Police Department Detective Lauren Watson told WFTV.
“I’ve never seen a child to this level, this close to possible death,” Watson added.
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According to police, the couple took their son off the organic formula, which adhered to the requirements of their vegan lifestyle and was recommended by their doctor, for unknown reasons. Instead, they fed the baby a concoction made of mashed potatoes that French found online, local outlet NBC2 reported.
Veganism has come to mean more than just a niche lifestyle or a particular set of dietary restrictions. For many people, being vegan has sharp political connotations.
Some liberals wear their veganism as a badge of honor for the purported commitment it shows to progressive causes such as the environment, sustainability, and animal rights. On the other hand, the intersection of liberalism and veganism has long been a point of mockery for conservatives who see unflattering parallels – fanaticism, elitism, a disconnection from reality – between the two dogmas.
Fair or unfair, for them, the case of Buskey and French might only serve to reinforce their negative opinion of vegans.