Good Reads Vegetarians discussion

Which came first...the chicken, the egg (or does it matter?)

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message 1: by Billione (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:09PM) (new)

Billione | 25 comments Mod
Several months ago, I emailed a guy from the American Vegetarian Association to ask why the AVA suggests eggs as part of a healthy vegetarian diet. I eat eggs, but as far as I am concerned they are in fact chickens. They are purposefully unfertilized, which in a way cheats them. But, because egg-eating vegetarians are socially accepted, I continue. What do you think about this issue. Is it even an issue? Here is the conversation the AVA rep and I had. (It's long but worth it) Peace.

Email Response #1
The AVA does not consider eggs to be vegetarian, as they are from chickens.
Rather we look at eggs as being acceptable in a vegetarian diet, as the
chicken is not killed or harmed in the process of gathering eggs. The AVA
uses the classic definition of being a vegetarian as Lacto-ovo. The term
lacto-ovo of course stands for consuming milk and eggs as part of the
vegetarian diet. This classification also accepts honey as an acceptable
food source. We do not accept any other by-product from animals.

We have certified Eggland's Best Eggs as compliant with our lifestyle due to
the way that they treat their animals and the fact that they feed the hens a
vegetarian diet.

Vegans do not accept any animal or insect based or derived products. We also
certify manufactures products to be Vegan. Perhaps you are evolving to
accept this philosophy for your lifestyle.

As far as a platform for debate, may I suggest searching the web locally for
vegetarian or vegan groups. Typically there are several such groups that are
looking for members and volunteers to work with them in the continuing
process of educating the general public on the inhuman and negative aspects
of the harvesting of innocent animals for consumption, clothing, filler
materials, etc.

As you continue to develop your position and philosophy regarding
vegetarianism or veganism remember that it is critical to identify substrate
ingredients in everyday items like rennet in cheese, red dyes derived from
crushed insects and of course leather and other skin products used in


Alan J. Reboul
Director of Marketing
American Vegetarian association

Email Response #2
In your quote lies the answer to your question. People become
Vegetarians/Vegans for two basic reasons:

1) For a healthier diet.
2) From a moral ethical point of view.

The first group are typically transient vegetarians. They will follow some
form of vegetarianism for a few years and then go back to McDonalds.

The second group is more apt to become vegetarians for life. I suspect that
you are in the later group as you are struggling with the ethics of life and
death of a chicken. I like to think that true vegetarians have evolved to a
higher plain of conscious awareness of life.

You should understand that most eggs that are harvested for consumption are
done in an environment that makes it highly improbable that the eggs would
ever be fertilized and thus never become a chicken. Hens lay eggs as part of
a normal process. Just as human females produce eggs on a monthly basis;
these are shed and never fertilized.

We must all decide our own path in life. From low to high each journey must
be thought out and found within our selves. I hope that you continue on the
path that you are taking now. As a member of the world we must allow all
life to live as a sanctioned being. Humans may be the most evolved beings on
our little green ball, only by respecting other life to be as valuable as
our own can we grow as a species.


Alan J. Reboul
Director of Marketing

message 2: by Tra-Kay (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:13PM) (new)

Tra-Kay Haha, I thought there were so many comments on here.

It's true that harvesting eggs and milk doesn't harm cows or chickens in and of itself--in fact, cows' udders become bloated if they aren't milked (or don't have a particularly greedy calf), and hens get stressed if their unfertilized eggs take up space in the nest, disallowing them to lay more or hatch any.

The issue is, where did the eggs/milk come from? I always try to find eggs that specifically state the chickens can wander about outdoors (free-roaming or something, I think), instead of being confined to the inside of a building. Even so, this can often mean there is just a small doorway for the hens to enter and exit through to a little yard outside, and most of them won't find their way outside or have space amongst the others to do so.

As to milk, I just drink soymilk, which is better for digestion and, once you get used to it, tastes better. (I like 8th Continent.) Milk has this filmy, acidic aftertaste I don't care for anymore.

For those of us who love things like ice cream...I'm sure Baskin Robbins' eggs and dairy come from factory farms. Finding ice cream from good sources can be tough. I'm a tad wavery on my vegetarianism anyway right now, so I still get an ice cream cone if I want one... But honestly, if you want to be thorough in your boycotting of the industry, you have to check every part of where a food's ingredients came from. Remember that even if you don't want to go that far, you're doing so much more than most people--you're definitely part of the solution.

message 3: by Tara (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:14PM) (new)

Tara (snowytara) | 2 comments I'm not trying to be the vegetarian police or anything, but just to let you know, 8th Continent soymilk contains lanolin from sheep wool fat. It doesn't say it on the label directly, but it is what the Vitamin D in that particular brand is derived from. 8th Continent soymilk is not vegan, and its vegetarian status is questionable.

message 4: by Tra-Kay (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:15PM) (new)

Tra-Kay NO WAY!!! That's so horribly misleading. Thanks Tara. Maybe I'll have to switch back to Silk, ewie...

message 5: by Alien (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:15PM) (new)

Alien  Citizen | 5 comments Getting free-range eggs doesn't solve the problem, even if the hens are truly allowed to wander. While the hens may not be imprisoned, the male chicks (roughly half of all chickens born) are killed a day after they are born(either in a high-speed grinder called a “macerator” or by gassing them). "Both battery cage and "free-range" egg hatcheries kill all male chicks shortly after birth." Male chicks, afterall, do not increase production in any way and are only an extra expense when it comes to the bottom line. If you would like to read one of the many sites (such as Brittanica that talk about this deplorable practice, and from which I have quoted from here), then enter the following keywords into Google, "eggs kill male chicks," and hit enter.

message 6: by Claere (new)

Claere (omenonwings) | 3 comments I think it's okay as long as you keep the chickens yourself or are sure that they are as cruelty free as possible. But I plan not to eat them when I'm a grown up.

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