Days after Sanjay Raut said eggs are “vegetarian food”, Rajya Sabha MP Vandana Chavan on Sunday said she disagreed with his views. In the meantime, Raut has gained support from the poultry industry.
“I differ with Raut’s views. Eggs are not vegetarian. They are certainly non-vegetarian food. They are not like vegetables,” said Chavan, who belongs to the NCP. Chavan was not in the House when Raut, a Shiv Sena leader, brought up the issue last week. Raut raised eyebrows in the House when he urged the Ministry of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy) to classify eggs as vegetarian.
Akhilesh Babu, head of Karnataka Poultry Farmers and Breeders Association (KPFBA), said they agree with Raut’s statement. “Eggs certainly are vegetarian food. Eggs, which are available in markets across India for consumption, are vegetarian food. They are infertile. That which is fertile and can be hatched is non-vegetarian food. But such varieties are hardly available,” he said.
The poultry industry said Raut’s demand will help raise awareness about the healthy aspect of eggs. “Eggs are rich in protein. They have good cholesterol. The fear of hens being injected to produce more eggs is not true. There should be awareness about egg consumption.”
Babu said, “The Indian poultry farmer, both in the organised and unorganised sectors, is aware that poultry and consumer health is important. Many of them use antibiotics only for therapeutic purposes. Poultry farmers and various bodies representing the poultry farmers are concerned with the negative campaign that is being run by some NGOs, stating that there is large-scale abuse of antibiotics to increase production.”
Manav Kamble, an activist based in Pune, said why does it matter to an MP whether eggs are vegetarian or non-vegetarian food?. “When serious issues like suicides of farmers should be discussed in the upper House, our MPs are discussing the status of eggs. This is just not done. MPs should get serious…” he said.