Yup, I suppose you could definitely call it hypocritical to eat eggs that flow out of the current industrial mindset if one has a concern about the baby cockerels. Don't think I agree with Crazytalk about it being humane to grind the cockerels on day one. Maybe if they were defective bolts or something inanimate...even though dogs do need to eat, and they are not currently vegetarians.
To take it a long step further (bear with me), are eggs for chickens (solely for reproduction) or for people? Is the milk cows produce for the calves or for people (a further extrapolation, given that calves in dairies are generally taken away from their mothers within days, which also seems harsh)? Can there be a little of both? Surely it can be so in a small farm situation.
Of course this calls into question the whole industrial farming system, where unbalanced mono-systems now rule the roost, and profit (the end) justifies the means -- sometimes in ugly ways. Thomas Jefferson saw the danger of this (not only in the arena of farming) and wrote out against it in his book Notes on the State of Virginia. And he wasn't primarily concerned about baby cockerels -- he was concerned about freedom, and that a people who could not provide for themselves on their own land could easily be manipulated into servitude. Most of us who are interested in backyard chickens certainly get that point.
I think the big problem is that, on the whole, we have the industrial system supplying small flock keepers/farms with chicks. That is probably where the breakdown occurs. It could be perceived as a values mismatch (depending, of course, on the keeper of the flock).
To dig deeper still, in the beginning of creation people only ate plants and what they produced. The eggs were for the chickens, the milk was for the calves, and things were perfect. It took a serpent in the garden and a desire "to be like God" that threw an ugly wrench called sin in the works -- and now we live in a world that includes death in its many forms. This is why we struggle with what doesn't seem right, because we have a yearning for the perfection that was and is no more.
The consumption of animals was permissible after the flood (the flood itself being the result of even more sin), presumably because the wrecked environment wouldn't support life as abundantly as it once did. It was another pivot point. But even if the Creator allowed using animals for food so long ago, it still wrenches some of us inside. Not all, but certainly some -- even if we know that's the way it is nowadays. We still long for Eden.
I realize that there are those who do not adhere to a Christian view of creation and the world, and certainly they are entitled to have and express that view -- and may kindly oppose my thoughts. But I do think in some humble way these thoughts express the reality of the world we now live in, and may explain the angst some of us have when baby cockerels meet a meat grinder, or when we hear of or see anything out of sorts in the world. We all have to make choices based on our values.
For me, at the moment, I think that means finding hatching eggs or birds from a small farm or homestead in my local area. For the most part it avoids direct interaction with the industrial system, and it supports folks who have the same convictions. I am sure there are holes in my reasoning if it's prodded far enough, but it's a choice I can be at peace with right now in an imperfect world.
Edited by IdaClaire - 3/3/16 at 12:55pm