Can eggs be ethical? Where is the line?

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Third Person Groove
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Can eggs be ethical? Where is the line?

Post by Third Person Groove » Tue Dec 25, 2018 9:00 pm

Hey I just had a conversation with my mom about eggs and ethics. She has free roaming chickens that she takes wonderful care of and does really good at it. She does admit that she mainly has them for the eggs but also because she enjoys the presence of animals.

I called her out and told her why it is still unethical to eat her chickens eggs even though they are spoiled chickens in every other aspect of their seemingly good life.


I started with the hatchery she bought them from and explained how they kill baby male chicks

Then I went on to talk about.

-taking the eggs induces them to lay more eggs which reduces their life span and can cause reproductive complications.

-it normalizes egg consumption which can influence more people to eat eggs. That leaves a lot of room for suffering for other birds and even her chickens because you can't tell how taking the eggs is affecting them over a short term period of time

I did acknowledge that it's hard to see how taking their eggs is affecting them. Honestly I wasn't sure if chickens became egg bound because you take their eggs or if they would become egg bound anyway. Eggbound is where they have issues while laying eggs and they might get infections or go through a lot of pain, well I think so honestly my mom called me out and showed me I really don't know what I'm talking about.


She also brought up two points I can't respond well too like


She already has these chickens and so they will already lay eggs and she can't just leave the eggs there to attract preditors and it's more of a waste to not eat them

Also she asked for my sources on the claim that taking eggs makes chickens lay more eggs and how that could create more suffering


She concluded saying it's my opinion that eggs are unethical and she respects it she would like me to respect her opinion of eating the eggs


I realized I never looked deep into the sources so now I'm very curious. Are there any credibly studies out there supporting the suffering that can happen if you take eggs from chickens? Even if they are spoiled chickens in every other way of life.


Does anyone know of any science to support me or my mom? Is it harmful to take eggs from chickens and if it is please prove it!

Thank you!

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brimstoneSalad
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Post by brimstoneSalad » Wed Dec 26, 2018 5:11 pm

Third Person Groove wrote:
Tue Dec 25, 2018 9:00 pm
I started with the hatchery she bought them from and explained how they kill baby male chicks
This has traditionally been the most unavoidable, but technology is solving this issue now.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment ... -in-berlin

It's not available everywhere, but that's a great start.
Third Person Groove wrote:
Tue Dec 25, 2018 9:00 pm
-taking the eggs induces them to lay more eggs which reduces their life span and can cause reproductive complications.
Can she replace the eggs with fakes?

Keep in mind that not taking them can result in the hen brooding, possibly not eating much, etc. for some time.
It's not clear which is worse for welfare.

And letting them hatch would result in an unsustainable population explosion.

The problem comes down to the chickens' genetics: they've been bred, like the sad bulldog, to be genetic freaks and they suffer the consequences of that every day of their lives.
A more wild breed might lead a better life.

But it is what it is. You can't change their DNA at this point. The only approach is managing the situation.
She could possibly have them spayed. I don't know what the outcomes of that are for chickens, but it's probably a safer option.
Third Person Groove wrote:
Tue Dec 25, 2018 9:00 pm
-it normalizes egg consumption which can influence more people to eat eggs.
It could do the opposite, actually. By demonstrating how complex it is to acquire ethical eggs, people may realize it's not worth it and decide to leave them off their plates.
Third Person Groove wrote:
Tue Dec 25, 2018 9:00 pm
She already has these chickens and so they will already lay eggs and she can't just leave the eggs there to attract preditors and it's more of a waste to not eat them
If she didn't eat them, then the chickens probably would. However, the eggs might be bad for the chicken's health.
Third Person Groove wrote:
Tue Dec 25, 2018 9:00 pm
Also she asked for my sources on the claim that taking eggs makes chickens lay more eggs and how that could create more suffering
When chickens brood on eggs, they kind of shut down as I understand it. Less eating, etc. and I believe egg production also stops during that period.
However, as I said, I'm not sure if this is better or worse for them.
Continued egg production does introduce risks of being egg bound, but brooding might not be good for them either.

Here's a good short article on the topic: https://www.mypetchicken.com/backyard-c ... n-H84.aspx
Like I said in the other thread, I don't know of any studies, but the anecdotal knowledge is pretty overwhelming on this point. I would not have cause to doubt any of this.
Third Person Groove wrote:
Tue Dec 25, 2018 9:00 pm
I realized I never looked deep into the sources so now I'm very curious. Are there any credibly studies out there supporting the suffering that can happen if you take eggs from chickens? Even if they are spoiled chickens in every other way of life.
I don't think so. But their genetics is a source of their suffering. We should not breed these animals, like bulldogs and other highly inbred mutants with health problems.
Once they are born, though, we can only do our best for them.

That all said, I don't think your mother is in the wrong so long as she doesn't kill these chickens (and so long as she gives them veterinary care) and she does not buy more chickens.

fredericlavender
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Post by fredericlavender » Sun Jan 06, 2019 10:24 am

brimstoneSalad wrote:
Wed Dec 26, 2018 5:11 pm
Third Person Groove wrote:
Tue Dec 25, 2018 9:00 pm
I started with the hatchery she bought them from and explained how they kill baby male chicks
This has traditionally been the most unavoidable, but technology is solving this issue now.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment ... -in-berlin

It's not available everywhere, but that's a great start.
Third Person Groove wrote:
Tue Dec 25, 2018 9:00 pm
-taking the eggs induces them to lay more eggs which reduces their life span and can cause reproductive complications.
Can she replace the eggs with fakes?

Keep in mind that not taking them can result in the hen brooding, possibly not eating much, etc. for some time.
It's not clear which is worse for welfare.

And letting them hatch would result in an unsustainable population explosion.

The problem comes down to the chickens' genetics: they've been bred, like the sad bulldog, to be genetic freaks and they suffer the consequences of that every day of their lives.
A more wild breed might lead a better life.

But it is what it is. You can't change their DNA at this point. The only approach is managing the situation.
She could possibly have them spayed. I don't know what the outcomes of that are for chickens, but it's probably a safer option.
Third Person Groove wrote:
Tue Dec 25, 2018 9:00 pm
-it normalizes egg consumption which can influence more people to eat eggs.
It could do the opposite, actually. By demonstrating how complex it is to acquire ethical eggs, people may realize it's not worth it and decide to leave them off their plates.
Third Person Groove wrote:
Tue Dec 25, 2018 9:00 pm
She already has these chickens and so they will already lay eggs and she can't just leave the eggs there to attract preditors and it's more of a waste to not eat them
If she didn't eat them, then the chickens probably would. However, the eggs might be bad for the chicken's health.
Third Person Groove wrote:
Tue Dec 25, 2018 9:00 pm
Also she asked for my sources on the claim that taking eggs makes chickens lay more eggs and how that could create more suffering
When chickens brood on eggs, they kind of shut down as I understand it. Less eating, etc. and I believe egg production also stops during that period.
However, as I said, I'm not sure if this is better or worse for them.
Continued egg production does introduce risks of being egg bound, but brooding might not be good for them either.

Here's a good short article on the topic: https://www.mypetchicken.com/backyard-c ... n-H84.aspx
Like I said in the other thread, I don't know of any studies, but the anecdotal knowledge is pretty overwhelming on this point. I would not have cause to doubt any of this.
Third Person Groove wrote:
Tue Dec 25, 2018 9:00 pm
I realized I never looked deep into the sources so now I'm very curious. Are there any credibly studies out there supporting the suffering that can happen if you take eggs from chickens? Even if they are spoiled chickens in every other way of life.
I don't think so. But their genetics is a source of their suffering. We should not breed these animals, like bulldogs and other highly inbred mutants with health problems.
Once they are born, though, we can only do our best for them.

That all said, I don't think your mother is in the wrong so long as she doesn't kill these chickens (and so long as she gives them veterinary care) and she does not buy more chickens.
I think this is a very comprehensive reply. I was too mixed on whether it would be okay to eat eggs if they came from chickens that were well look after and drink milk from ahimsa farms. I didn't know enough about both in terms of ethics, what goes on behind closed doors etc. so decided not to eat them when I transitioned from veggie to vegan.

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brimstoneSalad
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Post by brimstoneSalad » Fri Jan 11, 2019 3:45 pm

fredericlavender wrote:
Sun Jan 06, 2019 10:24 am
I didn't know enough about both in terms of ethics, what goes on behind closed doors etc. so decided not to eat them when I transitioned from veggie to vegan.
That's a reasonable position. We should err on the side of not doing it, BUT at the same time it may not be certain enough to condemn others for doing it.

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Priest_of_Seitan
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Post by Priest_of_Seitan » Wed Jan 30, 2019 1:22 pm

I'd like to add some points to it.

The ancestor of the chicken, the red junglefowl (Gallus gallus), lives in the south-east Asian rainforest. They lay about 30 eggs / year there, this is the reasonable number of a nest can be managed by one bird. We changed that with selective breeding and nowadays the chicken tend to give 300 eggs / year. The biggest problem their body is not suitable for this sort of speed. The ancestor lives about 8 years long, while the domesticated part has about 25% of the lifespan. The cause of death nearly all the time the rupture, and infection of the oviduct tube*. So basically with the breading we just made the same aforementioned mistake what happens with dogs as chiwawas or English Bulldogs, where we skew their bodies until they simply suffer in pure existence.

When a sanctuary accepts a chicken the advanced ones start to use hormone therapies for them, in a form of a hormone implants to the neck to shut down the egg function for them, and then they live till 8 years easily.

Other points to think through:
-What happens with the old hens when their egg function deteriorate? Are they killed for meat?
-Do they have rooster? Are the eggs fertile?
-Do you have a reptile sanctuary nearby where they can use eggs?

Veganism has not a finite, closed down definition, there isn't binary vegan validator for it. Veganism is not talking about the result but it is an acknowledgement of the problem: as we currently deal with animals is not ok. The answer has to be personal for the common good. If you think eggs is ok, then have it. But nearly certain, if you are observing the benefit of the animal kingdom there is a better choice with the eggs than simply eating it.

*disclaimer: I am not familiar with English nor with the terminology]

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brimstoneSalad
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Post by brimstoneSalad » Wed Jan 30, 2019 8:27 pm

Priest_of_Seitan wrote:
Wed Jan 30, 2019 1:22 pm
When a sanctuary accepts a chicken the advanced ones start to use hormone therapies for them, in a form of a hormone implants to the neck to shut down the egg function for them, and then they live till 8 years easily.
Wow, I didn't know this.

So, bottom line: if you have a pet (or rescue) chicken and you're not doing this, then you're basically not giving her proper medical care.
If you don't do it because you can't afford it maybe that's excusable... but if there's even the possibility that the egg supply is creating a bias to discouraging giving her the care she needs, that's a big problem.


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