Thoughts on the ethics of home grown eggs

Milly

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hello I've been a vegetarian for over 15 years and I also don't eat dairy or honey or eggs that are in processed foods. I also don't wear leather or wool nor do I support the keeping of animals in captivity. And in no way do I consider myself worthy of the name vegan, because I eat my home grown eggs. But I am conflicted in doing so and need help on deciding If eating them is morally wrong or not.

The chickens were from a sanctuary, where chickens can be adopted as I did not want to support the egg trade by buying chickens from a farmer. I have a very large garden (2 acres) where the chickens roam free. No fences or cages. Our dog scares away any foxes. The chickens have a large shed with perches to sleep on and they are cared for very well. I even crack open some of their eggs for them to eat so that they keep their calcium levels up. But I am still debating whether or not it is truely moral. Am i stealing the eggs? But they have no other use since I have no cockerel and would they not go to waste?
I would love to hear your opinions on my moral dilemma.
Thankyou
 

Jamie in Chile

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I think that's great that you leave such a vegan lifestyle for so long and so well done.

Are the chickens all female? If yes, meaning all eggs are definately unfertilized, I personally would be OK with it. Many vegans wouldn't because they consider the eggs belong to the hens. I'm not sure how many people will reply because this topic comes up often and may get boring for seasoned vegans. If you google it or use search function you will probably find similar discussions already on this or other forums.

You could try leaving the eggs lying around and see if the chickens eat them or do anything with them or if they just ignore them and they go to waste.

Whatever you decide, I would not worry about it too much. You sound like a very kind and considerate person to me.

If it is morally wrong to eat the chickens'eggs it is probably about as morally wrong as something really minor like cutting the grass (killing bees and butterflies by destroying their habit), or shouting at someone or stealing a few chips from someone's plate when they go out of the room. You would struggle to find a person alive that hasn't done something morally worse than eating one of those chickens' eggs.

But as I say the title of the forum is "vegan forum" and this forum is for vegans. Therefore, by definition, vegans don't believe in eating animal products and so typically would not agree with this.
 
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Milly

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I think that's great that you leave such a vegan lifestyle for so long and so well done.

Are the chickens all female? If yes, meaning all eggs are definately unfertilized, I personally would be OK with it. Many vegans wouldn't because they consider the eggs belong to the hens. I'm not sure how many people will reply because this topic comes up often and may get boring for seasoned vegans. If you google it or use search function you will probably find similar discussions already on this or other forums.

You could try leaving the eggs lying around and see if the chickens eat them or do anything with them or if they just ignore them and they go to waste.

Whatever you decide, I would not worry about it too much. You sound like a very kind and considerate person to me.

If it is morally wrong to eat the chickens'eggs it is probably about as morally wrong as something really minor like cutting the grass (killing bees and butterflies by destroying their habit), or shouting at someone or stealing a few chips from someone's plate when they go out of the room. You would struggle to find a person alive that hasn't done something morally worse than eating one of those chickens' eggs.

But as I say the title of the forum is "vegan forum" and this forum is for vegans. Therefore, by definition, vegans don't believe in eating animal products and so typically would not agree with this.
Thankyou for your help much appreciated
 

gab

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To also consider that eggs have very high cholesterol levels.

Being a vegan means that where practical we avoid animal products. You do not really have a need to eat the eggs, so don't do it. It's also gross, eggs are basically the hen's period ... Why wound you eat that ?
 

Munch

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To also consider that eggs have very high cholesterol levels.

Being a vegan means that where practical we avoid animal products. You do not really have a need to eat the eggs, so don't do it. It's also gross, eggs are basically the hen's period ... Why wound you eat that ?
Hardly a hens period tbf. More a hens abortion.
 

Sally

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I agree that it's a hen's period. They have to mature before they start them and when they get to a certain age they stop. That is why they keep laying whether there is a male around or not. When there is you may get a fertilised one, and if it's a boy we all know what happens to it. The reason to stop eating eggs is not just a personal choice, it is to let people know about the appalling conditions and treatment most hens and boy chicks are experiencing. If you say you are a vegan, but you eat eggs, what kind of message are you giving out to non-vegans, that it is okay? It isn't okay, chickens probably have the worst life of all farm animals. Sorry Milly, no eggs. How about getting old chickens whose egg-laying days are over and giving them a nice home.
 

Jamie in Chile

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One thing that does concern me is that if one of the eggs is fertilized you end up killing a baby. So, you need to be sure all your chickens are female and have no access to males I suppose to avoid this happening. Don't know much about chickens but seems logical.
 

Sally

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OP is not a vegan nor claiming to be and has already said that.

Sorry Milly, I missed the bit about your being vegetarian. But to be honest, I think that when I was vegetarian I was missing one of the most important facts, and that is that milk cows and hens arguably have the most horrific life of all farmed animals, I'm not saying any of them have a good life if they are being used for production on a commercial scale. If we care about animals I feel our commitment needs to be 100%. So, I still say "No Eggs."
 
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Milly

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One thing that does concern me is that if one of the eggs is fertilized you end up killing a baby. So, you need to be sure all your chickens are female and have no access to males I suppose to avoid this happening. Don't know much about chickens but seems logical.
I am 100% certain all the hens are female. I would not even consider eating the eggs if there was any chance of them being fertilised.
 
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Milly

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Sorry Milly, I missed the bit about your being vegetarian. But to be honest, I think that when I was vegetarian I was missing one of the most important facts, and that is that milk cows and hens arguably have the most horrific life of all farmed animals, I'm not saying any of them have a good life if they are being used for production on a commercial scale. If we care about animals I feel our commitment needs to be 100%. So, I still say "No Eggs."
Yes I think you are right. I have not eaten milk or other animal products for years. Except my eggs of course. But I also avoid eggs from all other sources as I know they may have come from terrible places. But I think it's time I take the leap and cut out all animal products from my diet. I've been thinking about it for a long time and I think I will keep the hens as I love them very much, but will leave the eggs, as the hens like to eat them and it keeps up their calcium levels.
 

JulieAngelica

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Hi, Milly, I would just like to tell you I'd love to live like you someday. I think your eating eggs is completely ethical, as you are caring for the hens and you actually got them from a sanctuary, and the eggs can truly be called not just cruelty-free but even "full of care". Also, the cholesterol argument has been disputed by some, and by eating eggs you are also supplying natural B12. The argument that by eating eggs from your hens you promote eating factory farmed eggs is also questionable - after all, does wearing fake fur promote wearing real fur? I know some people think otherwise but I see it as too extreme. I'd even risk a claim that "as long as it does not hurt any animal (or human), it's vegan".
 

gab

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Hi Julie,

There is actually an official definition of what a vegan is:

"Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose."

Collecting the eggs would be a form of exploitation, would you not agree ?
 

JulieAngelica

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I'm sorry but I don't see it as exploitation. The above definition might even include companionship as exploitation. Recently I read about a crazy guy who collects the hair shed by his cats and makes funny hats for them out of it. This might be a bit weird but is he actually exploiting them? Especially if he gives them a home? Just like Milly gives a good home to her hens. And she takes the eggs as they are not essential for the birds.
This is how I see it and I respect that others might see it differently. I admire Milly.
 

gab

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Julie, as long as the hens do not agree to it, it is exploitation. We are taking something from them, and we are only assuming that it is a fair deal from their perspective as well - but we do not know what they think, what they want.
 

JulieAngelica

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This is why we are the caretakers of animals, not the other way round - we are able to assess what is for their good. We euthanize our pets when we see them suffer too much. Let us not be extreme in thinking the hens have to "agree" to their "periods" being taken away, because there is no technical possibility of them expressing such an agreement.
 

gab

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'Caretakers of animals' implies that animals could not take care of themselves without humans. Which they can just fine. Animals do not need humans for anything, only we are exploiting them however we see fit ... because they cannot respond back.
 

JulieAngelica

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Dear Gab. I believe humans and animals were created (yes, created) to coexist peacefully and to their mutual benefit and satisfaction. You seem to believe they should be separate. That's ok. I respect and admire your strong position. However, I can see that our opinions are currently irreconcilable - which is a shame, because we clearly both care about animals. I wish you all the best. Thank you for the polite conversation.
 

gab

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Hi Julie, our opinions are not that different. I believe humans and animals should coexist peacefully. Where we disagree is that I say animals have no need for human intervention in any form, and you see humans as carers for animals (which I see it as a polite way to say 'exploitation' since it involves animals trading things like eggs for shelter and food). I mean if you as a human were asked to give your babies in exchange for food and shelter, would you consider it a fair deal ?