Vegans don’t eat eggs because eggs come from birds and are thus animal products, and vegans don’t eat animal products. However, there’s more to this egg prohibition than vegans wanting to adhere consistently to the definition of veganism.
Some vegans have a strong belief in property rights and think it’s immoral to take an egg from a hen without her consent, since it’s her property and so egg snatching is theft. (Well, “strong belief” is probably an exaggeration. Giving nonhuman animals a right to their bodies and what comes out of their bodies is about as far as most vegans are willing to go when it comes to protecting animal property rights. Few vegans actually want to give animals a right to their nests, burrows or other dwellings or habitats, since that would mean humans could never build anything where animals are living, or really alter the natural environment in any significant way.)
Mostly, though, vegans don’t like breeding animals for human use because the animals we prod into existence are going to experience suffering and generally have non-ideal lives in regimented conditions — especially if they are raised on factory farms — and will eventually be slaughtered for food instead of dying of old age.
One of the things vegans hate about the production of eggs in particular is that because roosters can’t lay eggs, male chicks are discarded at birth and either ground alive, suffocated, electrocuted, gassed or have their necks broken. These early violent deaths on a massive scale appall vegans, but I think they sound worse to us than they are for the chicks to experience, except possibly the suffocation, which is the form of chick killing that the American Veterinary Medical Association deemed inhumane. This video is titled “Hatchery Horrors” and is supposed to be an exposé of the tragedy of shredding chicks to death, but to me it makes unexpected death by grinder look like one of the best of all possible deaths. (Of couse this is assuming the grinder is big and powerful enough to instantly macerate whatever type of being you are. It would suck to be a llama caught in a chick grinder.)
Despite the ominous narration in this video, the grinder chick deaths in it appear instantaneous and painless. Going into one of these grinders the week you’re born is about as close to never being born as any living being can hope to be. Vegans are perfectly fine with not breeding chickens into existence — in fact, they prefer it — so if nonexistence is preferable, what’s so bad about zapping roosters back into nonexistence within the week? Yes, their deaths may seem gory, sad or disturbing to us as observers, but how bad could they be to experience firsthand?
It’s not like the lives of male chicks leading up to the day of maceration seem all that terrible. Yes, the chicks get moved around in cramped boxes, but that hardly seems worse than caging cats to take them to the vet, and it’s probably kind of nice to spend most of your life cuddled against other cheeping fluffy chicks. The video mentions beak trimming, which would be gratuitous to put the males through since they’re about to die anyway, but it appears that the procedure doesn’t cause baby chicks pain, and that the chronic pain some chickens experience after beak trimming is only an issue when the procedure is done on older hens, which makes this video’s reference to chronic pain a misleading one. The chicks are tossed around on their way to the conveyer belt (“roughly dumped”), but they’re light and so probably aren’t banging against anything with a lot of force. The conveyer belt itself looks fun, and then they’re gone before they’re really aware of their surroundings or what the hell is going on.
Being a male chick who is gassed, electrocuted or ground alive is probably a more pleasant way to go than SIDS, or just about any other way that a young or adult human dies, including old age. So vegans, what’s so objectionable about it?