Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Why Vegans Don't Eat Eggs

Vegans are vegetarians who do not eat eggs or any other animal product. This is the strictest form of vegetarianism.

Many people feel that this is too extreme and too restrictive. They prefer a form of vegetarianism that includes
eggs and other animal products that do not involve the death or harm of living creatures.

Vegetarians cooking for children are often advised to include some eggs in their diet. Pregnant women who are vegetarians often do the same. The advantage of eggs is that they are highly nutritious. They contain the same nutrients as meat because they are the food supply for the embryonic chick.

But modern farming techniques are convincing an increasing number of people that it is unethical to eat eggs. The battery farms in which most of the eggs available on supermarket shelves are produced cause harm and suffering to millions of hens. They are kept in confined conditions without space to move and engage in natural behavior. As a result they peck one another and have to be de-beaked. Their legs are malformed and they lose their feathers.

Some of us opt for free range eggs but there is no agreed definition of what free range means. Without visiting the farm it is very hard to know how the hens that produced the eggs have been treated. Even in a free range setting the chicks have been selected to ensure that they are female. A huge number of male chicks are discarded in this process and go into industrially prepared foods.

You might decide to raise your own hens. Backyard poultry keeping is becoming increasingly popular. But even here there are ethical decisions to be made. Hens that are no longer laying eggs traditionally go into the pot. That is fine if you are a carnivore but not if you are a vegetarian.

There are also strong health reasons for not eating eggs. Eggs are a source of saturated fat. They can raise your cholesterol level. So if you are worried about your heart health and have been told to reduce your cholesterol level it may be worth thinking about a vegan diet. It is possible for an adult to eat a balanced diet that does not include eggs.

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