Backyard Eggs, Are They Vegan?
Can backyard eggs be vegan?
This is a question that comes up often, and the simple answer is: no, they’re not vegan. But why?
Let’s start off with the basics.
What are backyard eggs? They are the eggs we get from chickens we keep in our backyards. Pretty simple right? A huge number of people get their chickens/hens from rescues and sanctuaries that take in ex-factory hens. After doing some research about these rescue hens, the same question keeps popping up. Do they lay eggs?
Eggs are an animal product, so they are in no way vegan. They are the menstrual cycle of another animal, and we as humans feel it necessary to eat them? Does that not seem really gross to anyone else?
Chickens, like so many other animals, have been irreparably harmed by selective breeding by humans. We have bred them to be different colors, different weights, and most importantly, lay more eggs than is natural for them. Most domestic chickens will only live for about four to six years, whereas wild chickens whose bloodline hasn’t been damaged by humans and our compulsive need for selective breeding have been known to live up to thirty years old.
Most people who rescue chickens will have the argument of, “but I rescued it, and I’m giving it a good life here, so why is it not ethical for me to eat the backyard eggs?” Chickens don’t have voices. They don’t bring the egg up to you and say ‘look I made this, but you can eat it instead’.
The only reason chickens lay as much as they do is because they have been bred to. Some factory hens will lay twice a day, from the age of sixteen weeks, until their body either gives up and they die, or can no longer produce eggs. This means they have a very short lifespan.
There was a study done in 2012 that was also featured in the groundbreaking documentary, What The Health, that found eating just one egg a day had the same effects as smoking five cigarettes. Just let that sink in for a minute. You think by feeding your child eggs that you’re making them healthy? How about letting them smoke five cigarettes? Still feel like you’re doing the right thing?
In the commercial egg industry, there is no use for male chicks. So when the chicks are one day old, they are sorted and separated. The female chicks go on to live a life of horror, most of them confined to small spaces with not enough room to walk, forced to lay eggs for the rest of their lives in miserable conditions. The male chicks are sent to slaughter. They might seem harmless but many of the methods used for ‘disposing’ of male chicks are so horrific they don’t bear thinking about. In most cases, they are ground up alive. Another method commonly used, is to put the chicks in a CO2 container and suffocate them. They usually end up in dog/cat food.
Would you consider doing the same to another animal at a day old? Like a puppy, or a kitten, or even an elephant? No. Because there are some animals we as humans have decided mean more than others.
By continuing to eat eggs, no matter where they come from, you are supporting this horrific industry. If you do have backyard chickens and don’t consume the eggs there are some things you can do. You can crack them, mash the shells and feed them back to the hens so they get the vital nutrients they lost in producing the egg. You can get an implant for the chicken, so they are basically on birth control and stop producing eggs.
After reading all of this, do you still think eating backyard eggs is vegan? Don’t support the horrific industries that keep these poor voiceless creatures in these kinds of conditions.
Be the change today. Raise Vegan.
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