> Family Vs State > (New) Press Release


NATIONAL CONTACT:  Shaun Monson   Nation Earth Organization
Tel:   818-843-6560    Email:

Tel:  801-298-9095


Mathew Thaxton a few before winter illness and being taken by DCFSSALT LAKE CITY, UT.
On January 9, 2004 a Utah Second District Juvenile Court Judge named Kathleen M. Nelson ruled that a Vegan diet is neglectful and inadequate.

This came as a shock to parents Dan and Carolee Thaxton, whose now 18 month-old child Matthew was removed from their care by the State Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS) seven months prior on grounds of "dietary abuse." The Thaxton¹s have been fighting to get their son back ever since, but to no avail.  Now Matthew will be going up for potential adoption.

By definition, a Vegan diet contains no meat or dairy products. But according to the DCFS recently filed Findings of Facts, "Matthew¹s current medical condition is the direct result of malnutrition caused by the parent's dietary practices."[1]

The State of Utah and the DCFS have become particularly concerned with Vitamin B12 in a vegan diet.  The Columbia Encyclopedia defines Vitamin B12 / Cyanocobalamin as "a group of organic structures that are required in the diet of humans and animals for normal growth, maintenance of life, and reproduction."[2]

The U.S. meat industry has always proudly stated that Vitamin B12 can only come from animals.[3]    But the truth is Vitamin B12 [4] is produced by microorganisms indigenous to plants, soil and water, and the only reason animal products, which humans consume, even contain B12 is because those animals ingest plants or drink water that carry the microorganisms producing the vitamin.  Therefore, animals are a reservoir hence a vehicle of B12, but not the primary source, and this criminally misunderstood matter of vitamin B12 is the focus of the entire case DCFS has brought against the Thaxton family.

Carolee and Dan Sr Thaxton - Loving parents!The grounds for the Thaxton case were, according to social worker Laura Rowland, "These parents do not seem to understand link [sic] between malnourishment due to vegan diet and sudden medical crisis."[5]  According to a report of Child Neglect by Bountiful City police Detective Julie Feigleson, Matthew's parents "could not supplement his nutritional needs while using a vegan diet."[6]   Medical Examiner Dr. Maureen Frikke even declared her nonobjective, unprofessional prejudice, “I hate vegetarians” to Matthew’s father.

Dan Jr. near his 2yr birthday a few months before his winter death(After purchasing and moving into a newly remodeled "dream" home and safe neighborhood for their children and themselves October 1999, two full winters prior to Dan Jr's death)  Dan and Carolee Thaxton first came under fire on October 2, 2001, when their two-and-a-half-year old son Dan Jr. died suddenly in the night. The Medical Examiner's diagnosis was Myocarditis, an inflammatory condition of the heart, and there was no indication of any wrongful death or criminal violence resulting in the death of Dan Jr.[7]   At that time, Carolee was already pregnant with Matthew.  She and Dan Sr. also have two older children, daughters Marylee and Sarah, ages 7 and 5, who are perfectly healthy and have been vegans their entire life.  When Matthew was born on May 22, 2002, he was examined and found to be a "fine and healthy baby."[8]

By January of 2003, however, Matthew developed some health problems that baffled his doctors.  First he was diagnosed with "pallor and low blood counts,"[9] then Leukemia, then a rare "Intrinsic Disease,"[10] then he was given a hefty dose of Insulin because one doctor thought he might be Diabetic. 

Between January and June 2003, Matthew underwent extensive blood tests, two blood transfusions, a bone marrow biopsy, a B12 shot in the leg (after Carolee expressed consern with a doctor's order to inject the shot directly into Matthew's liver), and a Barium test, among other examinations and assessments.

It wasn't until the doctors learned Matthew was "Vegan" that they erroneously presumed his condition was due to "malnutrition."  In lieu of the previous incident with Dan Jr., (even though there was no basis of malnutrition in his death) Child Services were quickly brought in, a police investigation commenced, and the State took custody of Matthew a few days thereafter.

Two months later, on August 13, 2003, the Thaxton family received proposed terms of a dispositional "Dependency" order (which, if agreed, might reunite them with their son).  This order stated the parent's mental stability was in question (for being vegans) and required that, "The parents will each obtain a psychological evaluation." Furthermore, it stated, "The parents will commit to perpetually give their children a multivitamin which contains B12 and other essential nutrients which would not be provided by a vegan diet." The disposition concluded with: "In the event that the parents fail to properly supplement their children's diets as memorialized in the final stipulated agreement, this will constitute grounds for removal of all the children as a significant risk to their health."[11]

Marylee Sarah and Matthew early this year - Do you see malnourished children here?This means Dan and Carolee could lose all three of their children. According to a DCFS Functional Assessment: "The doctors and nurses at the hospital expressed great concern for the other siblings in the home to make sure that they were being fed properly and getting enough nutrition.  The doctors and staff of the hospital came to a concurrence that the dietary habits of the family were abusive."[12]

There was no medical evidence from the testing done on Matthew, or his mother Carolee, proving that a Vegan diet caused a low-normal B12 deficiency, particularly in a breast-fed baby.  In addition, no one has come forward with any medical literature, data or research to prove that a mother on a vegan diet can cause any malnutrition in a baby that is breast-fed.
The conclusions of DCFS are plainly based on hearsay, anecdotal evidence, community standards or social norms, and so-called "expert opinions." Though these points may be important in medicine, they are not as significant as conclusive proof.[13]

Therefore, should the State (in this instance, comprised of doctors, social workers, police officers and a judge -- none of whom are certified nutritionists, or vegetarians) be able to remove any child from any home they deem unfit?  According to Utah's flagship law of the DCFS, the answer is yes, and the following statute applies: “There is created the Division of Child and Family Services … The division is the child, youth, and family services authority of the state and has all functions, powers, duties, rights, and responsibilities [sic] created in accordance with this chapter, except those assumed by the board and the department.”

Please copy and forward this press release and or this link to others so we can get the story out. For all of the vegetarians and vegans in America, this case (and others like it across the country), is not only  nconstitutional, but an outrage. Has veganism become the new racism, or just another form of discrimination, like most prejudices are, based on ignorance?

[1]  DCFS Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Order paragraph 38.
[2]  The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition, 2001.(link via Vitamin B12)
[3]  The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 48 (1988):822-5
[4]  Vitamin B12 - "the truth" - (on this site) tlr/LSI 
[5]  Laura Rowland, Social Work Progress Notes, 6/3/03 page 1 of 2 (fax P32/34)
[6] Bountiful City Police investigation, Child Neglect, Det. Feigleson, 6/17/03 (fax P28/34)
[7]  Bountiful Police Department Medical Examiner's Report, 10/5/01 (fax P24/34)
[8]  Dr. Kamalu; Diane Christianson, Chronological History (fax P3/34)
[9]  Geoffrey Jackman, M.D., PCMC, Encounter Report, 1/2/03 (P15/34)
[10]  Diane Christianson Chronological History, 1/1 & 6/03, P4/34
[11]  Dispositional Order, 8/13/03, paragraphs 3, 9, 10, 12 (fax P12-13/34)
[12]  Functional Assessment, 1/14/02 (fax P34/34)
[13]  Dr. Todd Feinman, M.D.,

My thanks to my film and television documentary producer friend, Shaun Monson, in Los Angeles, for partnering with us and adding his skills, contacts and influence to this worthy battle for this innocent child and his family -- and as a consequence, for all children's, mothers' and families' rights - TRodgers

Initial Press Release Nov/Dec 2003 by Producer Shaun Monson

Two more press releases and petition:
#2 Accounability Utah by D. Newby
#3  National Press Release on PRWire By S Allen
Then Return to Family Vs State