10.08.2011

Vegan MoFo #8: What's the Deal with Honey?



It's time for the big debate. 

Is honey vegan?


The clear answer is NO, although some vegans do choose to keep honey in their diet. For me, the reasoning behind this is simple: honey comes from bees. Bees are living creatures. They are animals. They are insects. My point? Vegans don't eat animal by-products, and since honey is basically bee regurgitation... why would we eat honey?

The thing is, to most non vegans, the fact that we don't eat honey seems absurd. They understand why we don't eat meat, and they might understand why we don't eat dairy if we explain it to them, but honey? How does it hurt the bees? When I tell people I don't eat honey, they immediately stop taking me seriously. You know why? People don't really understand whats happening. 

First of all, bees are smart. And they can feel pain just like any other animal. Secondly, although there are bee keepers out there who harvest their own honey and treat their bees with care, most honey actually comes from full-time factory bee farmers.


The queen bee is chosen by a human instead of the current queen bee. They typically come from queen bee suppliers - they will ship a queen bee with a few worker bees in a cage to the bee keeper. A new queen is chosen every 1 to 2 years. When a new queen is chosen, the old is killed. The new queen is artificially inseminated (sound familiar? the joys of factory farming and dairy production...). Guys, this is really more gruesome than I thought it would be. CLICK HERE to see pictures of how queen bees are artificially inseminated... it's sad and disturbing. 

Next, in order to manipulate the bees and extract the honey, bee keepers spray smoke into the hive. This causes the bees to eat extremely large amounts of honey and thus become calm, as well as masks the pheromone guard bees release to warn the rest of the colony.  

And no, beekeepers do not just take the "extra" honey. "Commercial beekeepers frequently extract [steal] all fall-season honey and then feed colonies either sugar syrup or corn syrup in quantities great enough to provide all the winter food the bees would need." (Source). So, basically, we steal the honey and feed the bees sugar water so they will stay alive. For Americans, we use about 25 pounds of sugar per year, per hive. So if you're vegan and you eat honey, you're still eating refined white sugar which is typically processed by bone char. Which, we all know, isn't vegan anyways! In the process of taking the honey, some bees are stepped on, others sting the beekeeper and then die, and others die in other ways. 

So really, is eating honey worth it? No, I don't think so. It's still an animal product, and it's not nice to all the bees. Yes, they are animals, but you don't need to go around flaunting the fact that you don't eat honey to your friends, either. If it comes up, tell them why you don't eat honey. Otherwise, why get into an argument about it with someone?

To read the website where I found all of my information, click here.

What are your thoughts on this topic?
Much love,

7 comments:

  1. Great post! When I tell people I don’t eat honey because I’m vegan they often don’t get why eating honey matters to the bees. Now I have more info to give them. Thanks!

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  2. Thank you!!! Of course bees are animals too. This is exactly why I don't squish bugs that may find their way into in my house.

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  3. i don't eat honey and it's true, when I tell people they look at me like I'm crazy.

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