Australian vegan parents who left daughter 'severely malnourished' avoid jail

The Australian parents of a toddler who became severely malnourished from a vegan diet have been sentenced to an 18 month intensive corrections order and 300 hours of community service. 

The now three-year-old girl, whose parents cannot be named for legal reasons, was so malnourished that she didn't have any teeth at 19-months-old and appeared the same size as a three-month-old.

The Sydney parents had not vaccinated their daughter or registered her birth. She was also found to be suffering from a preventable bone disease after a seizure landed her in hospital in March 2018. 

The parents, who are now separated, pleaded guilty to failing to provide the necessities of life, causing serious injury, 7News reports.

The mother is on an ongoing treatment plan, and the father must attend counselling or psychotherapy if directed by a GP or the community corrections officer.

On Thursday's sentencing, Judge Sarah Huggett slammed the offenders for the toddler's "completely inadequate" diet.

7News reports the child's diet consisted of oats and half a banana for breakfast, jam or peanut butter on toast for lunch and rice, potatoes or more oats for dinner.

"The child was severely malnourished, underweight, undersized and delayed as far as age-appropriate milestones were concerned," said Huggett.

The judge said there was "ample opportunity for her condition to be acted upon".

Huggett also raised the point that the parents, who have three children, "had experience with babies and their transition to toddler-hood and then young children." 

She did acknowledge the parents' remorse for their daughter's health and their participation in nutrition education and parenting programmes, the outlet reports.

The child is currently living with relatives in Queensland and her health has improved. She is now immunised and has gained weight. The parents have visitation rights.

The three-year-old will require ongoing speech therapy and physiotherapy. She reportedly remains below average both mentally and physically.