What about Eggs? Surely you still eat them? – I get asked these questions quite a lot so thought I’d briefly share the reasons why vegans don’t eat eggs…
When I first turned vegan I did miss eggs initially, however since learning so much about the industry that’s all changed. For a long time I naively believed that free-range eggs were from chickens that roamed around outside, happy and free. As I’ve lived in the countryside for a lot of my younger years, I thought back and realised that very rarely, if ever, do you see chickens outside! The label ‘Free Range’ just means that there must be a minimum space per chicken, however this is still very small. The current EU legislation still means that as many as nine chickens can be on one square meter of floor and never see daylight! Seriously though, nine chickens per m² !
Here are just some of the standard practices that go on in the UK Egg industry:
- – Burning off the end of a hen’s beak, and sometimes their claws, without painkillers! Worth noting that beaks are highly sensitive and contain many nerve endings much like a human finger.
- – Hens are slaughtered (usually for pet food) after just over one year of egg laying, despite naturally living for 7+ years – essentially they are barely even ‘teenagers’.
- – Male chicks are of no use for egg or meat production so are killed immediately after hatching – gassed to death or thrown into an industrial grinder. Little baby chicks.
- – Chickens are intelligent, inquisitive animals, and when farmed and treated as commodities they suffer broken bones, stress, tumors, osteoporosis etc. Some never even get to see daylight before they are slaughtered.
- – A human female’s ‘period’ is an unfertilised reproductive cycle, eggs are a hen’s unfertilised reproductive cycle. To be clear, an Egg is a hen’s period.
- – Don’t even get me started on battery farms and caged hens – these poor birds have less than one A4 paper size cage. Barbaric.
Whether large scale battery caged operation or an organic humanely raised free range farm, the reality is that cruelty, confinement, and death are part of all egg production. Can I also bust another myth? Just because an egg may be ‘organic’ that doesn’t mean it was from a free range chicken.
I’m pleased to say that many people in the UK are taking a stand and lobbying change. A huge shout out to the lovely Lucy Gavanagh who this year successfully campaigned to end caged hen eggs being sold in UK supermarkets by 2025. I was lucky enough to see Lucy accepting the award for Young Animal Enthusiast of the Year at this year’s Animal Hero Awards. You can find out more about the 2016 winners inspiring stories here.
If you are lucky enough to have a lovely green garden, you can find out about rescuing hens due for slaughter by visiting the British Hen Welfare Trust .
I hope this helps to explain why Vegans don’t eat Eggs, and if you do eat Eggs, that this motivates you to cut down or stop altogether. Look out for my upcoming post on what you can use as a substitute instead of Eggs in recipes.