Do Vegans Eat Eggs?

vegan questions Dec 21, 2018

Vegans do not eat eggs, because their production requires the exploitation of female chickens and the murder of male chicks within 15 minutes of hatching.

Veganism by definition is a way of living that 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. For this reason, consuming eggs can never be vegan.

Why don't vegans eat eggs?

Vegans do not eat eggs because their production involves the exploitation of the reproductive systems of hens.

Female chickens are bought and kept so that farmers can profit from the eggs they lay.

This is against the definition of veganism, which seeks to exclude all forms of exploitation and cruelty to all sentient beings, including hens.

Why can't vegans eat eggs?

Vegans can't eat eggs because in order to be vegan a person must avoid all forms of animal exploitation, and the egg industry exploits the reproductive system of hens.

Most eggs come from farmed chickens. Farmed chickens are often kept in poor condition whilst of egg-laying age, before they're sent to slaughter when their egg production slows down.

Factory farms

In factory farms, hens usually receive just 750cm squared space each. They'll spend every hour of every day standing in cramped, uncomfortable sheds, in which the light is often altered unnaturally in order to manipulate the chickens into laying more frequently.

More eggs means more profit for farmers, who usually retire their hens to the slaughterhouse aged 18 months. The natural lifespan of a chicken is eight to 10 years, which means they're barely teenagers when they are killed.

When ex-laying hens are taken to slaughter, the farmer is paid around 25p per chicken. Because the chickens are classed as 'spent', their meat is not deemed valuable.

Vegans also avoid eating eggs because the industry that produces them has no use for male chicks, so many millions of them are gassed on hatching every single year.

Official guidelines require the chicks be gassed within 15 minutes of birth. In other countries, male chicks are tipped into a machine and ground alive.

Because of the practices, vegans do not eat eggs.

Can vegans eat free-range eggs?

No. Vegans do not consume anything produced through the exploitation of animals. Eggs are produced by female chickens by their reproductive systems. It is not vegan to take and consume eggs, whether the hens who produced them are free-range or not.

Free-range chickens are born under the same conditions as caged hens. Males are typically gassed within 15 minutes of hatching. Females have their beaks trimmed to stop them from pecking and pulling out feathers before they're put into a space that allows them three feet squared of space each.

After 18 months, the chickens are typically taken to slaughter. There is no luxury slaughterhouse for free-range chickens; they're taken to the same slaughterhouse as caged hens. The hen who laid almost every egg you've ever eaten almost certainly lost her life in a slaughterhouse, whether the egg was free-range or not.

To vegans, how much space a chicken was granted whilst she laid eggs to be sold by humans for profit should not matter. This is exploitation, which vegans avoid by definition.

Can a vegan eat eggs from their own chickens?

No, vegans can't eat eggs even if they come from their own chickens. Chickens do not produce eggs for humans to eat, they produce them as part of their natural reproductive cycle.

To take eggs from chickens for profit or sustenance is exploitation, which is not permissible for those following a vegan lifestyle.

The eggs will not go to waste. If left with their eggs, chickens will  often eat unfertilized eggs themselves. Eggs are full of nutrients essential for chicken health. Many vegan chicken parents take eggs from their chickens to prepare them through cooking and feed them back to their hens to help them stay healthy.

Eggs are not essential for human health. To take them to consume when they do not belong to us is unethical and not vegan. In fact, there are many studies that suggest that eggs are actually extremely bad for humans and should not be consumed at all.

Are eggs healthy?

Eggs are not healthy for humans. They contain saturated fat and cholesterol, both of which are linked to heart disease.

People who regularly consume eggs are twice as likely to develop type-2 diabetes. Eggs are also the leading cause of food poisoning and are linked to hormone-sensitive cancers.

Are eggs baby chickens?

No, in most cases eggs are not baby chickens. Usually hens are kept away from cockerels so that the eggs they lay remain unfertilised. When you eat an egg, you're essentially eating part of a female reproductive cycle.  

If a female chicken happens across a male, which is sometimes the case on free-range farms, then it is likely that the egg you're eating would have developed into a baby chicken had the egg been left with the mother to sit on.

Every now and then, you might find a partially formed fetus when you crack your egg open. In this case, you're eating a baby chicken.

Can vegans eat egg whites?

No. Vegans do not eat any part of any egg, whether it be the yolk or the white. The consumption of eggs is exploitation of the female reproductive system, which is against the very definition of veganism.

If you're vegan, you should be avoiding eating any part of egg in any form, including products that contain eggs, like some wines, cakes, mayonnaise, and some breaded and batter-fried foods.

Vegan alternatives to eggs

Depending on what it is you’re trying to make, there are lots of alternatives to eggs.

Egg replacement in cakes

Baking? Try using banana or unsweetened applesauce as a replacement for egg. One ripe, mashed banana or ¼ cup of unsweetened applesauce is equivalent to one egg.

Egg replacement in Yorkshire puddings/meringue

Trying to make Yorkshire pudding, pavlova or Eton mess? Aquafaba, or chickpea juice, is the perfect egg replacer for your recipe. Tip it from the can and use an electric whisk to force it to thicken. Three tablespoons of aquafaba is the equivalent of one whole egg.

Other vegan egg replacements

You can use flaxseed or chia seed as egg replacers in most recipes, and they have the added benefit of not tasting like anything, which is what you'd want from an egg.

To make an egg using flaxseed, mix one tablespoon of flaxseed with three tablespoons of water and allow to stand for five minutes.

To make an egg using chia seeds, mix one tablespoon of flaxseed with three tablespoons of water and allow to stand for five minutes.


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