Categories Vegetarianism

Can Eggs Be Vegan? What is a Veggan?

There are apparently a group of people called Veggan ‘s, who believe that the consumption of eggs fits within vegan guidelines, because the eggs were not “unethically” taken from the hen.

And to be honest, they have a point. Yes, veganism IS strictly defined as having NO animal products at all. None. No honey, no lanolin derived D3, no shoes made from leather. But that is not the only definition of veganism. The most common one comes from the Vegan Society, which states:

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.”

Keywords being “exploitation of, and cruelty to.” When you base veganism around a strict moral viewpoint, you will find many loopholes inside it that make the consumption of animal foods perfectly OK as long as it does not inflict or endorse exploitation and cruelty to animals.

Ethical Honey for example. Is honey vegan? There is a wide amount of debate going around, with many people saying honey is not vegan because honey is an animal product, while others are saying honey helps bees, regardless of it being an animal product. Or the case for Mollusks/Sponges. These bivalves are animals per-se, but they have no sentience at all and are basically a plant, but they are still technically in the animal kingdom, so… not vegan on a technicality?

Another good one is Freeganism. This is where you take food from the dumpster, and consume that instead of buying food from the store. This way, if you consume candy with dairy in it, or tossed out meat products, the food, even the meat, is TECHNICALLY vegan because it does not inflict cruelty or endorse exploitation of animals, as the food eaten is simply waste.

So what about people who call themselves Vegan, but they eat eggs laid by rescued hens/pet hens? They are going to lay eggs anyways regardless of if they want to or not, because laying eggs to chickens is the same as Ovulation is to women, it happens whether we like it or not. So if veganism is based on morals, and not strict guidelines, wouldn’t eating these eggs be ok?

There is an argument that can be made that keeping the rescued chickens and selling their eggs IS exploitation, but if it is, it’s a rather dull version of it. It’s like keeping a rabbit as a pet, but using their droppings as compost to grow and sell fresh vegetables; or brushing your cats fur and using the shed hair to card and twist into yarn for cat’s hair scarves. it’s literally that low in terms of exploitation.

I often get flack about how I am more likely to drop veganism because I am a more health-based vegan, but scientific consensus proves that diets high in beans, nuts, and vegetables are good for you. In terms of Ethical Veganism, it seems that you can eat Bivalves, Honey, Eggs, Dairy, and even Meat (including roadkill) and still be considered vegan as long as no exploitation or harm is caused to the animal. While you don’t NEED to be vegan to be healthy, at least I am not fooling myself.

As vegans, we need to be aware of these loopholes, as they exist, and they exist entirely because of us.

3 thoughts on “Can Eggs Be Vegan? What is a Veggan?”

  1. Hi, we loved your article! Very level headed and open. Please check out our Veggan page we’d love for your support and guidance.

  2. Interesting article and interesting to read about different views on the subject. I would say that there are a number of flaws with your article:
    1) Yes chickens lay eggs, but those chickens only exist because they have been bred for that purpose and in selecting female chickens to use for producing eggs, male chicks are slaughtered/ground. Egg industry as a whole exploits and is cruel to chickens. This includes “free range” chickens too;
    2) honey is produced by bees, for bees. They produce honey to sustain them during times when there is less food for them. By taking honey, we are exploiting the bees and causing them to starve. Also, in order to develop hives, bee keepers dissect male bees to artificially inseminate queen bees, and also rip the wings off of queen bees to prevent them from swarming. All of this is exploitation and cruel; and
    3) Eating food from a dumpster does not mean that there hasn’t been cruelty or exploitation in the production of that food – just that the dumpster person hasn’t paid for that exploitation/cruelty to take place. It does mean that the animal hasn’t completely died in vain – which is something I guess.

    I agree that looking after rescued chickens and using their eggs, could be OK if done without any cruelty. Majority of egg eaters though (including the Veggan Society) aren’t doing this and simply ignore / justify the cruelty that does take place in this industry.

    Very thought provoking article though and thanks for posting it. I am far from perfect and haven’t been vegan for long so know I have contributed to cruel practices. Good to educate others to ensure they are aware of what is going on and can make informed choices.

    1. 1. Yeah, those chickens are bred to be that way. That’s over and done with, there is nothing we can do about it now. It’s a horrible practice that they were forced to go through but there really isn’t anything we can do about that at the current time, so we should just love the chickens as they are today.

      2. “By taking honey, we are exploiting the bees and causing them to starve. Also, in order to develop hives, bee keepers dissect male bees to artificially inseminate queen bees, and also rip the wings off of queen bees to prevent them from swarming.”

      This may be true in SOME, or even MOST, beekeeping practices, but certainly not all. You can be a beekeeper without causing mass starvation of bees, dissecting males, or ripping the wings off of queens. Then again, this brings up the age old paradigm of whether or not bees even feel pain. Which there is very little evidence to prove at this point, if any at all. More research is still being done on insect psychology.

      That’s also the issue that many have with Bivalves as well, due to lack of sentience would it be vegan to consume them? Or not because TECHNICALLY they are animals?

      3. “eating food from a dumpster does not mean that there hasn’t been cruelty or exploitation in the production of that food – just that the dumpster person hasn’t paid for that exploitation/cruelty to take place.”

      True, but if you consume food from the dumpster that means that you spend less money on food, including fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, coffee, etc, that has been picked and processed while causing harm to workers, animals, and possibly even the environment.

      If I ate ground beef and milk from the dumpster, that’s less money I would potentially spend on other foods, including bananas, which the production of generally uses horrible working conditions for farmers.

      “I agree that looking after rescued chickens and using their eggs, could be OK if done without any cruelty. Majority of egg eaters though (including the Veggan Society) aren’t doing this and simply ignore / justify the cruelty that does take place in this industry.”

      I agree, most people who call themselves “veggans” still use eggs from highly exploited chickens, and that isn’t ok.”Free-range organic” is just a marketing term and shows very little in the ethics of raising chickens, and doesn’t mention that they still cut off beaks and still kill off male chicks at birth. In order to be a TRUE veggan, you need a backyard chicken that you take care of, or at least get your eggs from someone who does.

      And thankyou for reading and commenting on my article ^_^

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