Darwin’s Finch - there are a significant amount of people, including me, who classify themselves as “ovo-lacto vegetarians” meaning they eat eggs and milk products. So more correctly, if it comes from an animal it ain’t “vegan.”
Now I’m not sure what % of laying hens are fed vegetarian vs. non-vegetarian diets, but some rations do have animal products in them. Their energy requirements are supplied mainly by cereal grains but can also be supplied by things such as animal fats. Their protein requirements can also be plant derived (i.e. soybean meal, cottonseed meal, etc.) or animal derived (i.e. fish meal, meat by-products, blood meal, feather meal, tankage, etc.).
I also only purchase the kind of eggs you speak of, but for me, it is because they come from free range laying hens. While in school for my animal science major, we took a trip to a laying hen facility and I was absolutely horrified. I’d seen pictures in textbooks, but there’s nothing like seeing in real life all those hens crammed in hundreds off tiny cages all stacked up on top of one another.
bup, do you have a farmer’s market or any co-ops near you? The free range eggs they sell there are usually cheaper than the ones found in the grocery store.