I am a nineteen year-old girl still living at home. Recently I started
reading the Bhagavad-gita, and have became
a vegetarian and happily stopped eating meat, eggs and fish. I am
healthy and satisfied with my new, more spiritual life and my improved
diet, but my mother tries to encourage me to at least eat eggs.
What's wrong with eating eggs? Can you help me explain to my mother,
from a spiritual, health and humane point of view, why I would prefer
not to eat them?
Helen Donegal, Dublin, Ireland
Firstly, from the spiritual standpoint, strict devotees of Krishna,
also known as Vaisnavas, eat only foods that are first
sanctified by offering them to their Lord. Eggs cannot be offered
to God, neither can meat and fish.
Why is this? Well, eggs are a form of flesh and blood -
being either an embryo or the chicken's menstrual period. Menses
can be considered dead flesh. It does not matter if the egg is from
a chicken raised on a so-called "free-range farm" or not
(see below for more on this) - this fact does not change.
Here are a few medical reasons why you'll be better off not eating
Eggs are very high in cholesterol. Specifically, the yoke
of eggs contains the cholesterol, a waxy substance that deposits
in the liver and blood vessels leading to possible corrosion and
hardening of the arterial walls.
The egg white is the more harmful portion of the egg. In some
tests, animals fed on fresh egg white developed severe skin inflammation
Chicken diseases are numerous - look at the Avian flu!
Eggs may also carry T.B. from chickens. If an infected chicken survives,
it matures and lays infectious eggs. Chicken leukemia and
other bird-specific diseases may also be transmitted through the
eggs. Hens infected with white diarrhea will lay eggs containing
Eggs are acid forming and they have an excess of phosphoric
Both the bile and pancreatic juices are indifferent to egg white.
Nearly 33 to 50% of the egg white passes through the digestive tract
Here's some more information:
Regarding so-called "free-range eggs": although
most consumers imagine free-range hens have access to the outdoors
with plenty of sunlight, vegetation, and normal social interaction,
to most egg producers, the "range" is simply a bigger
cage than those in which battery-caged hens are kept.
Free-range egg farming is, after all, a business. Consequently,
profit surpasses concern for the animals' comfort, welfare, or behavioral
needs. In addition, it is not uncommon for free-range birds to be
debeaked just like battery-caged ones.
But even if free-range hens were treated with kindness and given
all the space they could use, they will still be killed for meat
when their egg production wanes, usually after one or two years,
even though in a natural environment a hen could live fifteen years.
And, like all other animals raised for food, they will be subjected
to the horrors and abuses of transportation, handling, and slaughter.
Another problem with all egg production, whether free-range or
battery-caged, is the disposal of unwanted male chicks at the hatchery.
Because male chicks don't lay eggs and do not grow fast enough to
be raised profitably for meat, they are deemed a financial liability,
except for the few used as rooster studs.
On average, one rooster is used to service ten hens. Hence, nine
out of ten male chicks are considered virtually useless and will
be killed by the cheapest means available, including suffocation
and being ground up alive.
I hope this sheds some light.
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