First off, I am in NO WAY endorsing or promoting the consumption of eggs or ANY animal product, for that matter. What I am trying to say is that the great majority of people are NOT willing to turn vegan, so as a "compromise," it would be better for them to eat CF/FR/Organic eggs rather than factory farm eggs. Of course, not eating eggs AT ALL is most beneficial, but that won't happen.
I believe that we have no right to steal and eat eggs from hens. It is NOT our eggs to take and eat. I think what some of you are saying is what is the ethical harm in eating eggs that have actually been "abandoned" by hens - eggs that the hens could not care less about. But how do you know that the eggs are truly abandoned? That the hens really couldnt care less what happens to them? Is it even possible to ascertain that with full certainty? I dont know if it is or isnt. But what I do believe is that animals have a right NOT to be commodified and exploited. When you start carving out exceptions for the minimum and ostensibly innocuous infringement on the rights of animals, that is in my view a slippery slope. THAT is the ethical harm in eating abandoned eggs. No, we dont want to give animals the right to vote, but they DO have rights IMO, and to not be conceptualized as food or lab subjects is one of them.
As for stealing the eggs, I wouldn't call it stealing. it's removing the eggs. What happens if the eggs aren't removed? They'd build up, turn rotten, etc. That's an issue of being sanitary. Plus, the eggs are INFERTILE!!! It's a chicken PERIOD! I don't know about you, but I sure wouldn't want to be sitting in my "monthly waste".... I'd rather it be removed. In essence, humans have tampons and chickens have people to remove the poduct of menstruation. [Sorry, this was gross]. How could a chicken be upset that someone was removing the product of her period? If it was FERTILE, then I could see your argument... but the egg isn't... it's waste. it's of no use to the chicken.
Furthermore, would you eat a free range, compassionately reared (bla bla bla) chicken if it died of natural causes? The logic would be the same here as in the egg scenario would it not? I wouldnt eat a naturally killed, humanely and freely raised chicken anymore than I would eat my cat at the end of his happy life or another human being for that matter. Would you? What is the difference? The difference is that we may still be unsuspecting victims of residual conditioning that eggs (and possibly chickens) are food. That somewhere in a small corner of our consciousness we have yet to fully reject that notion
I would never eat any animal product. This has nothing to do with me. I am talking about the millions of people who are compassionate about animals, but could never fathom giving up their "beloved" eggs. And, killing an animal and eating it's period waste are two totally different things. In one scenario, you are taking a life. In the other, you are removing a waste product. Big difference.
Sure, using eggs could be a form of animal exploitation, but like I said before: if the hens are CF/FR/organic, treated correctly, blah blah blah, then it's more of a give-take relationship than exploitation. I'd rather the hens be wild and free, but that's not the case... so the best option for them is to live on a organic/CF/FR farm where they can get the best treatment possible.
Sorry if this grossed anyone out!