A child who was starved and malnourished by her vegan parents to the point where she couldn’t stand and had no teeth is now obese, according to her carer.
Her parents, aged 35 and 32 from Sydney, Australia, are facing lengthy prison terms on charges of abuse and are due to appear in court this week for sentencing.
The little girl was horrifically underfed for the first 19 months of her life as her parents insisted on feeding her a vegan diet of oats, tofu and rice milk.
She developed rickets due to her malnourishment and her neighbours, as well as the authorities, were unaware of her existence for a long time.
The girl, now three, was only made known to authorities after she had a seizure at her home a few months before her second birthday.
She weighed just 11lbs and apparently had the appearance of an infant around three months old and was immediately taken to hospital, where she remained in care for a month.
During this time, doctors noted that she didn’t crawl or talk and they began to get concerned for the child’s health.
They initially respected her mother’s request to keep her daughter on a vegan diet, but eyebrows were raised when she outlawed soy milk because of the ‘hormones’.
After her parents showed little concern for their daughter’s lack of growth and ignored texts and calls from the hospital, an investigation into the girl’s medical history was launched and doctors found an absence of immunisations, no follow-up check-ups after she was born and no birth certificate.
The toddler was eventually moved into foster care where her condition rapidly improved, despite the lasting effects of her abuse still evident.
A foster carer said: “For the first 19 months of her life (the girl) did not receive the basic care to grow and develop.
“She was defenceless and unable to protect herself from her parents.
“She has made good progress but her height and weight are out of proportion,” she added.
The carer also noted rapid weight-gain in the toddler and suggested her body “storing calories in case she needs them in the future.”
“She immediately stands out as different from other children,” she said.
Her mother revealed the vegan diet she had forced upon her daughter.
In the morning she would have a cup of oats with rice milk and half a banana. This was followed by a piece of toast with peanut butter or jam for lunch, and for dinner there tofu, rice or potatoes.
Her bones were so weak and underdeveloped that many of them had become fractured.
The girl and her two brothers now live with and are looked after by a relative and continue to receive therapy.