What dies first- the chicken or the egg?


Hello!  This is my first post contributing to Veganise Me, and I look forward to any feedback that you have!  I hope to generate lots of posts for this blog and help anyone along who is considering veganism.  Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions!


It really gets my goat when I tell people that I am a vegan, and they say things like, “What about eggs?  The egg isn’t fertilized so it wouldn’t hatch in the first place, so its not really an animal. So what’s the harm?!”

If you have the time, and wonder the same thing, please read the following excerpt from ‘Diet for a New America’, by John Robbins.


Male chicks, of course, have little use in the manufacture of eggs.  So what do you think happens to the males?  How are the little fellows greeted when, having pecked their way out of their shells, expecting to be met by the warmth of a waiting mother hen, they look around and seek to begin their lives on earth?

‘They are, literally, thrown away.  We watched at one hatchery as ‘chicken-pullers’ weeded makes from each tray and dropped them into heavy-duty plastic bags.  Our guide explained: ‘We put them in a bag and let them suffocate’.’

It’s not a picture to bring joy to a mother’s heart, but over half a million little baby chicks are ‘disposed of’ in this fashion every day of the year in the United States.  In the seconds it takes you to read this paragraph, over 2,000 newborn male chicks will be thrown by human hands into garbage bags to smother among their brothers, without the slightest acknowledgement that they are alive.

And they are, perhaps, the lucky ones.  Because for those chicks allowed to live, the ‘life’ that follows is truly a nightmare.

In today’s modern factories, chickens, exquisitely sensitive to the earth’s natural rhythms of light and dark, never see or feel the light of the sun.  Broiler chicks arrive at the producers via conveyer belt, in batches of tens of thousands.   Fresh from the incubators and mechanized hatcheries, only a few hours old, the fluffy yellow babies peep constantly in frail little voices for their missing mothers.  But they will never know the sound of their mother’s voice, nor the warmth of her body, nor the comfort of her protection.  There will be no scratching in the dust for tasty bugs, no struting and preening, no crowing to announce the dawn.”

I’ll spare you the rest of the chapter, because it made me cry, but if you really want to know what goes into the production of your food, please buy this book.  Its horrible, atrociously horrible.  Everyone needs to understand where their food is coming from.  The neatly wrapped packages on the shelf hide something very sinister indeed.

Back to the egg issue, THIS is just one of the reasons why I don’t eat eggs.  No, they aren’t animals when they are not fertilized, and yes, chickens will lay eggs whether people eat them or not, but it is the CONDITIONS in which the chickens are kept that are the problem.  When we begin to understand this and do something about it instead of hiding from the issue, then some positive changes can occur.

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11 Responses to “What dies first- the chicken or the egg?”

  • lindsey Says:

    Hi Amanda, yes, tragically sad. It’s those sweet chicks I think about every time I think that buying organic free range eggs might not be so bad.

    Diet for a New America is an AMAZING book!


  • leafy Says:

    Thank you for drawing attention to the horrors of the egg industry. It’s so easy to have an image in our heads of happy chickens walking around outside because that’s all most of us have ever seen. We have to replace these mental images with more accurate ones. You’ve done a great job of that!


  • Ruth Says:

    “The horrors of the egg industry” only exist inside the minds of humans who are so far removed from animals that they assume animals, in this case, hens, think and feel as humans do.

    While some hens might be treated badly in the battery system, most are treated extremely well.

    It only seems bad to you because you are a human, a hen is a hen, and it completely different thought processes to you. A hen doesn’t care about being in a cage and never seeing the sun. She cares about getting her next meal – and hey, there it is right in front of her, she didn’t have to go searching for it.

    Just because you don’t want to eat eggs doesn’t mean millions of other people don’t want to either, and those people want their eggs cheap.


  • amandaperino Says:

    Hi Ruth. Thanks for your input. We’re open to all opinions here and don’t mind opposing opinions if they are grounded in fact and have a firm stance in reality.

    I’m afraid that you are maybe not seeing the whole picture with battery cages. The birds have their beaks cut off so that they don’t maim eachother out of frustration due to having no space to roam, no light by which to guide their day, and easy access to food and water. So, you say that the hens are happy to recieve their food and water right there for them! And yet they have no beak in which to eat or drink. If their feet get caught in the wired floors, their toes are simply cut off.

    I’m not saying that chickens feel as humans do. But they certainly do feel, full stop.

    And that is the point that we are trying to drive home here.

    I honestly don’t care if people want their eggs for 20 cents cheaper than humanely raised eggs. Saving a couple of cents at the cost of millions of lives of chickens is absurd.


  • Edward Says:

    I only buy free range eggs. I know it’s not perfect but at least I know the chickens lived a happy life.

    The male chicks are apparently “humanely gassed” and fed to zoo animals or put into pet food.

    I’ve been having a lot less eggs lately – dont remember the last time. But I still have things that contain eggs. *hides*


  • Lindsey Says:

    I still love you, Edward. Sometimes it can be a long process to become fully vegan. Veganism is really becoming more mainstream, and I think it will very soon be so much easier to find more things without eggs in them. In the meantime, it helps to support as many vegan products as you can when you have the choice!
    Oh and good for you cutting back on eggs =) Every action counts!


  • Censorship Sucks Balls Says:

    The egg issue is one that has no wins. Even if you raise chickens yourself, you still have to do something with the males. If you keep them they will fight. If you kill them then you aren’t much better than those who raise chickens for eggs. The only way to somewhat be ok would be to raise only hens and treat them well. You will have to start with chicks from a breeder who likely killed some of the males though. In the end, there is no way to eat eggs without causing death and/or torture.


  • Jason Says:

    Really takes the pleasure out of the morning eggs and toast. Oh well, I prefer berries and nuts as a breakfast food ;-)


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    I’m impressed, I must say. Seldom do I come across a blog that’s both educative and interesting, and let me tell you, you’ve hit the nail on the head. The issue is something that too few people are speaking intelligently about. I’m very happy that I found this during my hunt for something concerning this.


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