U.K. vegan infant death case
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, March 1998:
SHEFFIELD, U.K.– – David
Low, 37, of Wortley, England, was
acquitted of cruelty to a child on February
6 when Sheffield Crown Court Judge
Michael Walker ruled that Low “is a gentle
and caring man,” and directed the jury
to declare him not guilty of causing the
October 1995 death of his son Ki Beau,
age four months, by placing the child on a
diet of soy milk and black currant juice.
Walker noted that Ki Beau suffered
from a virus often associated with
crib death. Prosecutor Jeremy Baker
brought the cruelty charge rather than a
manslaughter charge, he told the court,
because he could not actually establish
that the vegan diet caused the death.
Ki Beau was born unexpectedly
to Low’s former girlfriend, Isobel Price,
in June 1995, and spent two months in
foster care on a cow’s milk formula diet.
He had just begun to take solids when
Low, then unemployed, gained custody.
Baker argued that Low, himself a newly
converted vegan, decided Ki Beau was
overweight, took him off solids, put him
on the vegan diet, and kept him on it even
though he became ill and gained just a
sixth of a normal weight for his age. The
child’s body was found by an ambulance
crew called by Low’s current girlfriend,
Sharon Brown, now six months pregnant.
“My new child too will be given
a vegan diet,” Low told Paul Stokes of
the London Daily Telegraph. “This court
has ruled it is perfectly acceptable.”
However, unsupplemented soy
milk is not sufficient to promote infant
brain development. Since the death of a
British Columbia girl about 10 years ago
whose parents placed her on a soy milk
diet for religious reasons, most U.S. and
Canadian soy milk cartons have carried a
warning that the product should not be
substituted for infant formula.