Why Vegans Don’t Eat Eggs
A few weeks ago Cheap Vegan did a post explaining the various reasons why vegans don’t eat fish. Since that post, I have been asked the same question about eggs. While I did post a short article about eggs here, I decided to give a more in depth look at other reasons why eggs aren’t all their “cracked” up to be.
Here is some insight in to the various reasons why vegans don’t eat eggs.
Ammonia emissions are one of the biggest environmental problems in commercial egg farms. The ammonia released from chicken manure not only effects the air quality for the chickens and the farm workers, but the run off makes its way into our water supply when disposed of.
There is also a matter of land/resources that are used when raising any animal for food. Land is not only allocated for raising chickens, but also to grow food to feed them. It takes about 42-52 square meters (over 420 sq ft) of land to raise about 36 chickens or 1kg of egg protein.
Although the word “cage-free” may sound appealing, in many ways these farms actually add greater environmental problems in terms of efficiency. It takes much more land to make significantly less eggs on a free-range farm. This not only includes space to run around, but because these birds are healthy and moving, they have to eat more. This means more land must be used for chicken feed that could be used for growing food for humans. Not only that, but a study from the Poultry Science Organization and Iowa State University suggests that cage-free farms may still be subject to ammonia emission and nutrient run-off during rain.
While non-cage houses may be slightly better for the hens, they are less efficient and make less profit. Because the hens body heat is not as concentrated as a battery caged farm where hens are stacked on top of each other, it wastes more energy to heat non-caged houses.
Well before chickens are subject to battery cages, they are born in a hatchery. Which sounds adorable. Unfortunately the reality is much sadder than what we might imagine.
Georgia Hatchery Photo (not graphic)
An average hatchery will hatch about 55 million chickens a year. Half of those chickens are male and are deemed useless for food because they can not grow nearly as large or as quickly as their female counterparts. Because of this, male chicks are discarded either by gassing, crushing, suffocating or literally grinding these baby chicks alive shortly after birth.
The remainder of the female chickens endure a hard life in a battery cage, forced to produce more eggs than naturally meant to, and then once they are unable to produce enough eggs, are still sent to slaughter houses anyway.
Because it is seen as an inefficient waste of energy/money to raise chickens cage-free, farmers more readily choose battery caged hen houses. 95% of chickens live in battery cages. This type of farming is less ethical and causes more problems for the hens.
Battery cages are small wire or plastic cages, usually stacked on top of each other to ensure efficient use of space. The farm houses are often windowless and have very poor ventilation. This causes unsafe air for both chickens and farm workers. This air pollution can lead to sickness and often death.
Imagine a battery cage as being locked in a bathtub with 4 other people. They can not move so their bones and muscles deteriorate, their feet are constantly hitting wire and become lacerated, and unfortunately their mental health also deteriorates.
These crammed quarters and mental health problems lead chickens to violently peck at one another. In an effort for farmers to combat their pecking, baby chicks’ beaks are cut off with a hot blade without any anesthetic. These beak wounds can cause pain well into their adult lives.
Since chickens are locked close together in small cages, they often lose feathers, and are even forced to molt early so they can produce eggs sooner than their natural cycle.
Please read this article from the Huffington Post to find out more. And watch this video on egg farms here.
Eggs are pure animal protein, which some believe is the leading cause of first world fatal illness (ie. heart disease, cancer, diabetes, etc.)
Besides the negative effects of animal protein, there are other unhealthy elements of egg consumption.
- eggs don’t contain any dietary fiber
- 70% of an egg’s calories are from fats
- a large portion of these fats are saturated fats.
- While humans produce their own cholesterol and have no need to consume any, eggs have about 213mg of cholesterol.
- This also means having 1 egg already exceeds your daily recommended intake of cholesterolwhich is only 200mg.
Besides nutritional dietary hazards, there are many diseases carried on chicken products. Eggshells are porous and as we know from before, the health conditions in farms are not ideal. These porous shells are a perfect host for salmonella (the leading cause of food poisoning in the US). While I’m sure you aren’t purposely eating egg shells, it isn’t very unusual to crack your fingers into an egg and contaminating your white and yolk.
While eggs are probably the hardest animal biproduct to replicate, there are ways to bake and eat a healthy breakfast cruelty-free!
From egg replacer to apple sauce, there are plenty of ways to replace eggs in baking. Read this article to find out How To Bake Without Cracking an Egg!
Eggs, straight up
Many people find it hard to give up an American staple like scrambled eggs. Tofu scrambles are a great substitute for eggs and are becoming more and more common on brunch menus!
You can also use a simple pureed banana mixture as a tasty replacement for French toast.
While tofu will never quite have that eggy taste, there are new products on the market attempting to mimic the taste and texture of fried eggs. There is even a product called “the Vegg” that allows you to make a real, fry-able, yolk! (see image below)
The Vegg Photo!
Lowering your consumption of eggs helps not only the environment, chickens, and factory workers, but it also helps your own personal health. Please consider cutting or better, eliminating egg consumption.
I stopped eating eggs because ita gross aa fuck … . But this works too.