Sunday, 26 February 2012

The great egg debate

I answer a lot of questions on my eating choices from friends, family and coworkers.  It comes with the territory of being a vegan.  But sometimes I get questions that stump me and I give fuzzy logic replies.  One of those comes with our cities discussion over rewriting the bylaws to allow residents to raise their own laying hens.  I have been asked "would that be vegan?".  I usually reply, Vegans don't eat any animal products so the easy answer is no.  But the question has me thinking.  If I had my own hen would I eat her eggs? Wouldn't it be better for the environment than say, a processed soy product??

There is quite an interesting discussion on the Vegan forum on a similar topic: eating the eggs of rescued chickens.  I side most clearly with this response:

First, there's the issue of whether eating eggs from rescued hens is vegan. I think we all agree that it clearly isn't. However, the second question addresses whether or not eating these eggs corresponds with the ethics behind veganism. Here is where I feel the issue could be open to debate. If you feel that non-interference is an important aspect to veganism, then you may be feel eating any eggs is unethical. However, if you feel that no-harm/reducing animal suffering is the underlying ethics of veganism, then you may feel that while the consumption of these eggs is not vegan, it isn't unethical either.

The non-interference aspect was new to me, but I suppose it is the same belief behind some of the issues with honey.  I eat honey.  Not directly in tea or in my own baking, but I am pretty sure I have had it in other items inadvertently.  I guess this makes me less vegan, or perhaps not vegan at all.

This leads me to a new discussion on why we need the labels anyway.  See how one question can lead into a hot debate with even my own internal thoughts. While I am not condoning my own less than perfect choices, I do believe that Veganism is about acceptance.  And the constant labeling of our dietary choices is really a disservice to the broader goal to spread the ideology that many of us support.  I would love to hear your thoughts on the egg question! And please, let me know how you approach the continuum of veganism and vegetarian diets.  I mean why have we become a culture that feels a need to describe our eating habits like "I'm a lacto-ovo vegetarian that sometimes eats fish but only if it's sustainably farmed".  Really?!

Enjoy the last night of your weekend!



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