Is Eating Eggs an Act of Himsa?
Himsa means violence, and ahimsa means non-violence.
Ahimsa is the 1st principle of yoga. It teaches us to not commit unnecessary violence. Hurting or killing animals for our own gratification is an act of unnecessary violence. Some animals kill other animals for survival, but the humans don’t need to. The nature has provided us with abundance of fruits, vegetables, grains, and nuts etc. for our nutritional needs. Some may argue that killing plants is also an act of violence. It is true, but it is necessary. Our bodies need food for survival and the plant kingdom provides it. The yoga teaches us to honour the plant kingdom and take from it only what is necessary, and not to hurt or destroy it unnecessarily.
The hens give eggs, even without mating. The eggs which you purchase in grocery stores are not fertilized, unless indicated otherwise. Since those eggs don’t have the potential life in them, eating them is not a direct act of violence.
The eggs which a hen gives after mating with a rooster may be fertilized, and because of the potential life in them it is better not to eat them.
However, by eating even the unfertilized eggs you are encouraging and supporting an act of violence. Chickens, which include hens and roosters, live a very painful life and are subjected to a lot of cruelty. Below is a video that shows chicken cruelty in the meat industry. Chickens in the egg industry also face the similar cruelty. Whether it is unethical o to eat eggs produced in the egg industry could perhaps be argued, but after watching this video if we can still eat meat, I wonder if we can call ourselves loving and compassionate.
Warning: This video contains violence and cruelty, and may not be suitable for everyone.
After I posted the above, Susie wrote:
I am glad you acknowledged that hens lay eggs because of nature, and if they are unfertilized they do not contain a life. I agree factory farming is cruel and inhumane and should be abolished. I just wish you would have added the option of eating eggs from free range organic hens from a local farm or family backyard. My hens life a peaceful, loved life, eating organic grains, free roaming, safe from predators; and honor us with delicious eggs.
I agree. I see nothing wrong with eating unfertilized eggs from a local farm or family backyard where hens lived a loved life as long as they are not subjected to cruelty or killing after they stop giving eggs.