Would you cut open a pregnant cow and rip out its foetus, cook it and eat it? Well, that’s exactly what you’re doing when you eat birds’ eggs.
Birds’ eggs are their foetuses — the bird lays an egg, incubates it, it grows and then hatches. The oval shape of the egg applies the same rules of engineering as an arched bridge; the convex surface can withstand considerable pressure without breaking. This is essential if the egg is not to crack under the weight of a sitting bird. Isn’t Our Creator Almighty Yahweh’s design amazing?
The chicks of the white pelican tell their parents when they are too hot or too cold by giving loud and clear distress calls from inside the eggs. This helps the parents incubate the eggs correctly; they respond to the call by turning and resettling on the egg.
Let’s take a look at the formation of an egg — a chicken’s foetus — the most commonly eaten by humans:
The Yolk: The chicken egg starts as an egg yolk inside a hen. A yolk (called an oocyte at this point) is produced by the hen’s ovary in a process called ovulation.
Fertilisation: The yolk is released into the oviduct (a long, spiraling tube in the hen’s reproductive system), where it can be fertilised internally (inside the hen) by a sperm.
The Egg White (albumin): The yolk continues down the oviduct (whether or not it is fertilised) and is covered with a membrane (called the vitelline membrane), structural fibers, and layers of albumin (the egg white). This part of the oviduct is called the magnus.
The Chalazae: As the egg goes down through the oviduct, it is continually rotating within the spiralling tube. This movement twists the structural fibers (called the chalazae), which form rope-like strands that anchor the yolk in the thick egg white. There are two chalazae anchoring each yolk, on opposite ends of the egg.
The Eggshell: The eggshell is deposited around the egg in the lower part of the oviduct of the hen, just before it is laid. The shell is made of calcite, a crystalline form of calcium carbonate.
This entire trip through the oviduct takes about one day.
Growth of the Embryo: The fertilised blastodisc (now called the blastoderm) grows and becomes the embryo. As the embryo grows, its primary food source is the yolk. Waste products (like urea) collect in a sack called the allantois. The exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide gas occurs through the eggshell; the chorion lines the inside surface of the egg and is connected to the blood vessels of the embryo.
The Incubation Period: The embryo develops inside the egg for 21 days (the incubation period), until a chick pecks its way out of its eggshell and is hatched.
(There’s a marked difference between chicks that hatch after being naturally incubated and those that are artificially incubated).
Sometimes eggs contain spots of blood; Yahweh forbade us to eat the blood or raw meat of any creature:
“And any Israelite or any foreigner living among you who hunts any animal or bird that may be eaten must drain out the blood and cover it with earth. For the life of every creature is in its blood. That is why I have said to the children of Israel, ‘You must not eat the blood of any creature, because the life of every creature is in its blood; anyone who eats it must be cut off.’” Leviticus 17:13-14
“But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it.” Genesis 9:4
The females of all birds and reptiles are able to fertilise their own eggs without ever being exposed to a male of the species. This is a type of asexual reproduction called parthenogenesis — the growth and development of embryo without fertilisation by a male.
In this type of asexual reproduction the female bird uses her own DNA to fertilise the egg.
However, it is not possible to incubate eggs bought from the supermarket, they will not hatch because they have been cold stored for a period of time and at temperatures which will kill any fertilised egg, no matter what type of fertilisation occurred.
So, next time you’re tempted to eat an egg, remember you’re eating a foetus.
There are also many types of food prepared with eggs: Cakes, pancakes, salads, stews, pies and pies glazed with eggs, kebabs, soups, sandwiches, custards, meringues, desserts, puddings, energy bars, mayonnaise, sherbet, ice-cream, ravioli, egg noodles, pasta, some breads, rolls, croissants, scones, protein shakes, sauces, salad dressing, meatballs, meatloaf, hamburger meat (also, eggshells or whites may be used to clarify soup stocks, consommés, wine, processed juices and coffee drinks).)
Read the ingredients listed on packages and look for words like albumin, globulin, lecithin, livetin, lysozyme, simplesse, vitellin and anything that starts with the prefix ‘ova’ or ‘ovo’. All of those ingredients can contain egg proteins.
Always ask about egg ingredients when ordering food in a restaurant.
If you see the following statements on a label, the food may be cross-contaminated with egg. These warnings are generally voluntary, so some manufacturers may not include this information, even if there is egg present in their facility: ‘may contain eggs’, ‘produced on shared equipment with eggs’, ‘produced in a facility that also processes eggs’.
A balut or balot is a developing duck embryo that is boiled alive and eaten in the shell. It is commonly sold as streetfood in the Philippines. They are common food in countries in Southeast Asia, such as Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam (see All animals are Born Free and Meat man is allowed to eat).
Certain shampoos, conditioners/treatments, cosmetics, medications and finger paints also contain eggs.