vegan ethics question - eggs and dairy

This may be a dumb question. But I’m really trying to work it out in my head.

I have been a vegetarian since age 14 because I believed killing animals for food was wrong. Only recently have I learned how chickens and cows raised for eggs and milk and treated in factory farms and I believe that’s wrong and therefore it seems unethical for me to buy those products. If I buy eggs and milk from a local farm where the chickens and cows are pastured and treated humanely, how does that fit in? What makes it better still to avoid those foods altogether?

I suggest you watch a movie called Earthlings … or a Delicate Balance … or …Food Inc.
Apart from that, in my view there is absolutely no reason to eat any product from an animal. Plants do the trick very well.
There are plenty of reasons why the utilisation of animals to feed the world of humans is never going to work out well for the animals, people or the natural world for that matter. I could go on about many other levels but there is no better choice than being vegan :smiley:

For the dairy it is clear- the meat industry exists because of the dairy industry. In order to give milk, cows need to give birth again and again. It is the same as in human, a woman has milk only when she has her baby. So the little one is taken away form mother cow and killed because there is no need to have so many cattle, and the meat is called veal. Of course, some are left to continue the same destiny as the mother/father animal. Basically using dairy is supporting torture and cruelty.

About eggs. Hens would still produce eggs either they live in a community with a cock or not. So eggs if they come from your own hen whom you will never kill and who will stay in your place as in a sanctuary can be ok. However I do not eat any, neither I think that humans need to eat eggs for health, the ethically it can be ok only from your own hens who are loved and cared for or from a person whom you can trust in this ethical thing.

There are dozen of alternatives for dairy and if you want a scrambled egg texture - use silken tofu. So you would be an animal hero.

Thank you so much. I never considered the fact that cows have to give birth in order to have milk. I knew that, just never thought about it in the context of what happens to those calves. You have given me something new to think about.

Factory farmed hens and dairy cows suffer horrendously. Hens are kept in cages too small to turn around, or spread their wings. They are hen pecked by their cage mates. They are genetically altered to lay about 1 egg per day. Hens in the UK usually last around 1 year, and are then considered spent and killed. In the US they practice forced molting - they starve the hens, forcing their bodies to go into another egg laying cycle. This gives them another year to lay eggs. Dairy cows are kept constantly pregnant in order to produce milk. They have also been genetically altered to produce large quantities of milk. Their udders are so full they suffer from lameness. Male dairy calves are not allowed to nurse from their mothers, so they are either shipped off to be raised for veal, or shot at birth. Cruel industries indeed.

However, if you buy organic free range eggs from high welfare farms, the hens are allowed to roam, and practice natural behaviours. In the end, though, they are all slaughtered the same way.

Dairy cows that are allowed to roam, with their milk being sold as organic, still most likely have their babies taken away, unless it’s a small farm selling small quantities of milk to make a side living.

Giving up these products can be very difficult for people, so even reducing the intake, and buying higher welfare standard products helps.

Free-range is a misnomer. Often, for example, you can use the term cage-free and keep chickens in a crowded warehouse. Free-range has its own problems, which there are probably videos for here.

Under no circumstances should you buy organic, in my opinion. If the animal gets sick, they can not treat it for it’s illness. They let it suffer and die for a high price label.

There is no good example of dairy or eggs unless you intimately know the farmer or you are raising the animals yourself. Do not be fooled by labels that make it sound like the company cares about the animals. A business is not a charity. They are all looking for money as fast and cheap as possible.