Vox, a pro-choice news website, published an article about how baby chicks in an egg can feel pain even as embryos. However, when it comes to human embryos, the news outlet has a different opinion on the matter.

In past years, it has been revealed that the egg industry practices chick culling, which is separating male and female chicks. The males are thrown into a grinding machine and/or gassed since they don’t lay eggs, while females are raised to produce eggs. 

Additionally, factory farms will typically remove the female chick’s beak with a blade and confine hens into tight cages until they are done producing eggs. 

The Humane League states,Battery cages are wire cages which layer hens are forced to live in. They are generally a few feet wide and only 15 inches high. In this tiny space—too small for one hen to live comfortably— anywhere from four to 10 hens are crammed into a single cage at any time.” 

While most people can agree that these practices are cruel, there is a different story from Vox when it comes to the chicken and human embryos. 

Vox’s article details undercover studies conducted in hatcheries regarding chick culling and how the industry identifies male and female chicks, a new method called “in-ovo” (in egg) sexing which can identify the chick’s sex and destroy it before they are born. A chicken egg’s incubation period usually lasts about 21 days. However, a major discovery was made about embryonic chicks during the egg incubation period.

As Vox states, Scientists believe that chick embryos could potentially feel pain as early as day seven of their 21-day incubation period.” Thus, chicken embryos are capable of feeling pain before they are hatched. However, when it comes to human embryos, Vox and other media outlets will state that human embryos cannot feel pain, and thus we can abort the fetus since there is no pain. In an article by Vox, they write about Planned Parenthood’s business in selling human embryos and how it is medically necessary for life saving treatments. 

However, research shows that human embryos can not only feel pain, but also feel pain early on. WebMD writes about this topic, summarizing data from a scientific paper on fetal pain written by both pro-life and pro-choice authors.

Though the article discusses both sides of when a human fetus can feel pain, it acknowledges research that shows how human embryos can feel pain earlier than 24 weeks, “Pain receptors start developing in the body by 7 weeks and are linked to the brain by 12-15 weeks.” 

However, while Vox agrees that pain and suffering need to end for chicken embryos, for the abortion debate, they have hosted polls in which they concluded that most Americans are nuanced when it comes to abortion, stating “We’ve framed our abortion debate all wrong. It isn’t black and white — it’s thousands of different shades of gray that exist somewhere in the middle. This matters because by ignoring that gray space, we miss something important: there are abortion policies that a majority of Americans could agree on.”

It is important to have an ethical and compassionate environment for animals and their young, but this must also apply to human life — human embryos are just as capable of feeling pain as animal embryos.

Just as people are seeking a better future for animals, a world in which animals are treated fairly and ethically. The compassion for animals must also extend to other humans, children are the future and to terminate them would be to eliminate the future. 


Photo by Zoe Schaeffer on Unsplash

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The views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Human Defense Initiative.