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I am basically a vegetarian and I find it very difficult to get an actual biological answer for this question on search engine.

There are couple of links which discuss these argument but can not be acclaimed as a proof as being Egg either a veg or non-veg food item. Below are couple of links which I found depicted this in authors perception:

Is there any biological proof to consider White Eggs either as vegetarian or non-vegetarian?

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closed as primarily opinion-based by Christiaan, Chris, Bez, MattDMo, Luigi Jan 2 at 3:14

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Is there a reason you're asking about white eggs, vs., say, brown eggs? Does color make a difference? – MattDMo Aug 4 '13 at 15:20
@MattDMo Yeah ! I heard that brown eggs can be fertilized to get a chicken but white can or can not be (which sounds confusing to me). – Zerotoinfinity Aug 4 '13 at 15:40
That is untrue. The color of the egg is simply a function of the genetics of the chicken - different strains of chickens lay different-colored eggs - google "chicken egg colors" for some interesting pictures and articles – MattDMo Aug 4 '13 at 15:42
@MattDMo one of the links the OP posted mentions that the shell changes color when the egg has been fertilized and claims that unfertilized eggs are vegeterian (!). – terdon Aug 4 '13 at 15:48

1 Answer 1

up vote 14 down vote accepted

Of course eggs are not vegetarian. Eggs are, well, the eggs of chickens (usually). Chickens are animals so their eggs are animal matter as well. Whether or not the egg has been fertilized is completely irrelevant, eggs are chicken just as much as drumsticks are.

The color of the egg has nothing at all to do with it. All eggs are, by definition, animal cells. Basically, the chicken's egg is the equivalent to the human ovum. In both humans and chickens, the female will regularly produce eggs and discard them. In the case of a human woman this is the monthly period. When an egg is not fertilized, it is discarded along with some cells of the wall of the uterus. Similarly, in chickens, the female produces and lays eggs. If an egg has been fertilized, it can grow into a new chicken. If it has not been fertilized, it cannot become a new chicken but is most certainly still an animal cell.

So yes, eggs are most certainly animal, not plant or any other kind of matter. Whether or not you should eat them is up to your own moral guidelines to decide. While they are animal tissue, no animal has been killed to obtain them and no harm comes to the chicken if we harvest them.

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Great answer @terdon, but I'd suggest changing the first sentence. I think the whole premise of OPs question is that "vegetarian" is a loose cultural concept and doesn't necessarily mean "eating no animal matter". As you suggest at the end it might mean "causing no harm", or not eating animals of certain types (the "vegetables and fish" vegetarians). – Oreotrephes Aug 5 '13 at 0:35
@Oreotrephes the OP is free to use the word as he or she desires but asked specifically for a biological answer. From a biological point of view, eggs are categorically animals and not plants or fungi and as far as this biologist is concerned, anything that consists of animal cells is an animal and can therefore not be vegetarian in the strictest sense. – terdon Aug 5 '13 at 0:42
Point taken, and I suppose OP specifically asks: "vegetarian or non-vegetarian" – Oreotrephes Aug 5 '13 at 0:46
@Zerotoinfinite that depends on your definition of vegetarian. Vegans, for example, do not eat milk or dairy products. Milk is bound to contain at least some animal cells. It is not made of them but it will contain some. In any case, there is very little (basically none) scientific basis to any of these categories, its a personal choice, do whatever feels right to you. – terdon Aug 6 '13 at 2:29
"While they are animal tissue, no animal has been killed to obtain them and no harm comes to the chicken if we harvest them." - There are still a lot of chickens hurt or killed in the process: Roosters go straight into the chicken nuggets and when hens stop laying enough eggs after 70 weeks of age they will also be "disposed". Also caged eggs and free-range eggs come from chickens in cages or sheds (they will never come outside). Chickenfoods can come from animal parts (even chicken itself). Your best bet on animal wellfare is biological eggs or no eggs at all (like vegans do). – AutomatedChaos May 1 '14 at 7:27

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