If you are outraged by this article, you can write a letter to the editor. Please listen to Erik's brief podcast for tips to have your response published. Also read Urban Vegan's post.
This blog is not political. This may be the only time I talk about such a controversial issue. But, this story saddens me. I am more upset about the suffering of this baby than I am about this article. This poor child dropped to 3.5 pounds at six weeks. Was this baby not observed/weighed by health professionals as is standard practice with newborns? I cannot understand or even try to explain why parents would do this to their baby.
As vegans, we talk endlessly about animal suffering. Well, this is a clear case of human suffering. Baby suffering. I am a vegan, but I am a mother first. I would never risk my child's health. It is a parent's responsibility to protect their child.
But this baby's death is not about a vegan diet. It's about inexplicable parental behaviour. Being vegan and raising healthy children are not mutually exclusive. See these links. This is what bothers me so much about this article. People read this and think that vegans are so staunch in their beliefs that they would put their child in an unhealthy - risky - situation, because they are 'extreme' vegans.
Bull. This is media sensationalizing a story for their own benefit. This baby's death is gut-wrenching, and this article is disgusting.
I wrote a letter to the editor. Not particularly polite or eloquent, but it's what I felt, like so:
Bravo, Nina! That is, if your intention with “Death by Veganism” was to generate publicity for yourself rather than write a story that represents the vegan diet in any truthful, factual light. Had you researched, you would know that a properly planned vegan diet is entirely healthy through pregnancy, infancy, and childhood. Baby Crown Shakur’s death is a tragedy. His parents, however, are to blame. Not a vegan diet. No sensible vegan would ever suggest feeding a newborn apple juice and soy milk. Any sensible vegan would tell you that a newborn (vegan or not) should be breastfed. Your story is irresponsible and perpetuates ridiculous myths about the vegan diet. By the way, did you know that DHA is readily available in vegan form? Obviously not. I do. But then, I am a vegan mother of two young children. Two vibrant, energetic, abundantly healthy vegan children.
Author of Vive le Vegan!, The Everyday Vegan, and Eat, Drink and Be Vegan
Go write a letter to the editor if you also want to have your say.